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The Joy of Checks

By Newcastle ­niversity

February 15, 2012

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Researchers at Newcastle, York, and Northumbria universities have developed a way of making quick and easy electronic transfers while retaining the paper check as something physical to be handed to the recipient.

The system uses a checkbook that resembles those currently issued by banks except for the grayish background on each check, which consists of billions of tiny dots laid out in a specific pattern. Using a digital pen, the account holder writes the check and a camera in the pen tracks its position on the paper.

"It is important that people are supported to carry out day-to-day tasks such as paying a bill using a procedure they can relate to their past experience," says Newcastle's John Vines. "The beauty of this system is that it is a safe and cheap electronic transaction for the banks but it’s a physical paper-based transaction for the customer."

Checks are seen as a vital part of customers' financial independence, especially among the older generation, notes York professor Andrew Monk. "What this system illustrates is that electronic banking doesn’t need to be done via a computer or smartphone--there are alternatives," says Newcastle's Paul Dunphy.

From Newcastle University 
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