Read your cheque

Read your cheque

Many of us frequently use chequebooks to pay for all kinds of things. But do you know how to read a cheque beyond those first six digits, known as the cheque number? What do other numbers on the cheque say and how do they help the banking industry facilitate the processing of cheques? Here is a lowdown on chequebook and some banking jargon:

First six-digit block: It is common wisdom that the first six digits on your cheque are your cheque number. It is important to note the number because if your cheque gets lost or the money has not been credited, you can know the status of the cheque by providing the cheque number.

Magnetic ink character recognition

Magnetic ink character recognition or MICR comprises nine digits, which are further sub-divided as city, bank and branch code. It works the same way as your home or office address, enabling your snail mail to reach you from far-flung places. But unlike your addresses, the banking address is all numerical, where:

1.City code:The first three digits specify the city in which you have a bank account.

2.Bank code:The next three digits of MICR specify your bank in thatparticular city.

3.Branch code: The last three digits of MICR help in figuring out the specific branch of the specific bank.

The nine-digit code is called MICR because it is printed with magnetic ink, which is usually made of iron oxide. Magnetic ink is used so that numbers are readable even if it is stamped over.

4.A/c with RBI: The third numeral block represents your account number maintained by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The number helps in cheque processing when it goes to RBI for clearance.

5.Transaction code: The last two digits at the bottom of the cheque help in decoding whether the cheque is current or a saving account cheque. MICR also tells whether the cheque is at par. It helps in processing an intra-city cheque as a local one with a faster turnaround time.

6.Drawee/paying bank: A bank making the payment.

7.Payee: The beneficiary to whom the drawer issues the cheque.

8.Drawer:A person writing the cheque.

Inward clearing:It is important to be aware of the concept because the type of clearing affects the speed of transaction. Inward clearing is for the bank that issues the cheque.

Outward clearing:Outward clearing is for the bank in whose name the cheque has been issued. The inward and outward clearing bank can be same if the bank that issues and the bank in whose name the cheque has been issued are the same.