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Indian Financial System Code (IFSC):

The Indian Financial System Code (also known as IFSC) is a 11 digit code for identifying the bank and branch which an account is held. The IFSC code is used both by the RTGS and NEFT finance transfer systems.

The code consists of 11 characters - first 4 characters (4!A) represent the entity; fifth position has been defaulted with a '0' (Zero) for future use; and the last 6 characters (6!X) denote the branch identity.

IFSC is being identified by the RBI as the code to be used for various payment system projects within the country, and it would, in due course, cover all networked branches in the country. In due course, when all bank branches participate in electronic payment systems, they would need to have a single identifiable unique code and IFSC would serve the purpose effectively.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Financial_System_Code



Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR):

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, or MICR, is a character recognition technology used primarily by the banking industry to facilitate the processing of cheques. The technology allows computers to read information (such as account numbers) off of printed documents. Unlike barcodes or similar technologies, however, MICR codes can be easily read by humans.

MICR characters are printed in special typefaces with a magnetic ink or toner, usually containing iron oxide. As a machine decodes the MICR text, it first magnetizes the characters in the plane of the paper. Then the characters are passed over a MICR read head, a device similar to the playback head of a tape recorder. As each character passes over the head it produces a unique waveform that can be easily identified by the system.

The use of magnetic printing allows the characters to be read reliably even if they have been overprinted or obscured by other marks, such as cancellation stamps. The error rate for the magnetic scanning of a typical check is smaller than with optical character recognition systems. For well printed MICR documents, the "can't read" rate is usually less than 1% while the substitution rate (misread rate) is in the order of 1 per 100,000 characters.

MICR is standardized by ISO 1004:1995.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Financial_System_Code