Imagine a world where people have to carry around large amounts of cash with them all the time. This would be expensive and risky, especially for those who travel from place to place. In addition, it would take up a lot of space in your wallet or purse. Fortunately, there is an alternative – checks. What are checks? They are pieces of paper that contain instructions on how much money you can withdraw from an account at a bank so long as you have the corresponding amount in the account. You can also use these papers as a form of payment when shopping at retail stores or restaurants. Here are 4 interesting facts about the history of checks.
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1. Checks were invented in China around the 9th century AD.
The Chinese emperor would send orders to his agents at distant places and these missives would be written on long, narrow pieces of paper known as chits or slips. The early drafts were not much more than receipts that bore no obligation from one party to another. However, they could be endorsed from person to person until they reached their rightful owner. In the Middle Ages, this process was used for letters of credit which merchants traveling near and far utilized before checks came into existence centuries later.
2. In 1659, the first modern bank draft appeared in Sweden.
It was a letter instructing a local Stockholm banker to pay a certain amount of money to whoever presented the note at his bank. This innovation allowed people to exchange money without having to carry large amounts of coin and made it easier for travelers, soldiers, and merchants to buy and sell things using a paper draft instead of coins or currency. In addition, it made it possible to have a credit system that didn’t rely on the physical exchange of metal coins and bullion.
3. The French were responsible for popularizing modern checks in 1772.
They introduced a checkbook-like format where customers could write more than one check on a sheet of paper. In 1817, Great Britain followed suit by allowing their banks to print multiple checks on pre-numbered sheets of paper. In America, George Washington used a check-in in 1787 when paying an English supplier who had supplied him uniforms when he was Commander-in-Chief during the American Revolution 1775 – 1783. Additionally, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin also used checks to pay for various goods and services.
4. The first machine-printed check was introduced in 1847 by American banker and publisher, Henry Warren.
He was looking for a way to process checks that had been written by hand or on pre-printed check forms. After 3 years of tinkering, Warren’s press began printing lines through which holes were punched so that the information could be transferred onto ledgers. This eliminated the need to retype all customer records onto account books which increased efficiency and reduced costs associated with transactions using checks.
These are just some of the interesting facts about how checks came into existence and evolved. Of course, there is much more to know about this topic – so read on here to find out even more. Checks are pieces of paper that contain instructions on how much money you can withdraw from an account at a bank so long as you have the corresponding amount in the account. The first modern check was introduced in the 1770s by French banks and later popularized by Great Britain. Today, hundreds of millions of checks are processed each year leading to billions of dollars being transferred without the use of cash or coins.