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The electric cheque: Hi-tech lifeline could save old way of paying

 The practice of paying by cheque might not be on the way out after all – as long as you have a digital pen and computer.
An electronic cheque developed by British academics offers the convenience of the traditional system, while eliminating much of the processing and transport costs involved which so irritate banks and retailers.
The paper tech-cheque book looks and works much the same as the one used for generations.

However, each cheque is written with a special pen which has a tiny camera to record any strokes made against millions of tiny dots printed on the surface.
The user then hands it over, and fills in the stub for their own records. When they return home, the pen sends the details via a wireless link to their bank.

And as the cheques and digital pen work only with the customer’s own secure computer hub, they are said to be of no use to a thief.Researcher Dr John Vines said the tech-cheque was developed in partnership with a group of people aged over 80.
‘The beauty is that it is a safe and cheap electronic transaction for banks, but it’s a physical paper-based transaction for the customer,’ he added.
The research from York, Newcastle and Northumbria universities will be presented today at the Computer Supported Co-operative Work conference in Seattle in the U.S.
Talks can then be held to see if banks would be interested.
Currently, a digital pen costs £80 but this is expected to fall sharply.
Michelle Mitchell, of Age UK, said: ‘Hopefully banks will invest in this kind of innovative design which preserves what many people find invaluable about cheques.’
Cheque use has been falling since 1990, but 3.5million are still written every day.
Banks wanted to phase it out by October 2019, but were forced into a U-turn after pressure from customers and MPs.

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