Reading cheque MICR code

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Reading cheque MICR code

Canadian Cheques

If you are interested in detailed information about the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) coding on cheques, we have a useful reference document from the Canadian Payments Association that can be downloaded from our web site by clicking the link below.

Specifications for MICR Encoded Cheques


Reading the code on cheques is very straight forward. From left to right on the above sample:


The cheque number. Ignore this value.


Transit or Bank Branch.


Bank or Financial Institution.


Account Number.

Note: excluding dashes, this must be 7-12 digits. If the account number has more than 12 digits, it is not a type of account that may be used for EFT processing.

The image below shows the sample information entered into The Scheduler. Leading zeros in the Transit and Bank will not be displayed. The Scheduler knows the values are 5 and 4 digits respectively (even though only 3 digits show for the Bank on the cheque). If the Account number starts with a zero, this will display.


US Cheques

As well as spelling cheque wrong... the US layout is different.



Routing Number (always 9 digits).


The check number. Ignore this value.


Account Number.

US Transaction