A cheque is a document that orders a bank to pay a specific amount of money from a person’s account to the person in whose name the cheque has been issued. Cheque usage has fallen, being partly replaced by electronic payment systems. In an increasing number of countries cheques have either become a marginal payment system or have been completely phased out. In American English, the usual spelling for both is check.
About Cheque in brief
A cheque, or check, is a document that orders a bank to pay a specific amount of money from a person’s account to the person in whose name the cheque has been issued. Cheques are a type of bill of exchange that were developed as a way to make payments without the need to carry large amounts of money. By the second half of the 20th century, as cheque processing became automated, billions of cheques were issued annually; these volumes peaked in or around the early 1990s. Cheque usage has fallen, being partly replaced by electronic payment systems. In an increasing number of countries cheques have either become a marginal payment system or have been completely phased out. In American English, the usual spelling for both is check. In India, during the Maurya Empire, a commercial instrument called the adesha was in use, which was an order on a banker desiring him to pay the money of the note to a third person. In the 13th century in Venice, a merchant in one country could carry a sakk drawn on his bank in another country in order to secure large accumulations of cash. Their use in the early 1500s in the Dutch Republic was more than transporting money. In 1500s, a Dutchman could protect his cash by depositing it in a bank in his home country, and then depositing the money in a Dutch bank in the other country. The Dutch Republic, in 1500s and 1600s, used a paper sakK to protect accumulations in other European countries.
The use of paper money evolved from promissory notes, another form of negotiable instrument similar to cheques. The spellings check, checque, and cheque were used interchangeably from the 17th century until the20th century. However, in the Commonwealth and Ireland, the spelling cheque has become standard for the financial instrument, while check is used only for other meanings, thus distinguishing the two definitions in writing. The cheque had its origins in the ancient banking system, in which bankers would issue orders at the request of their customers, to pay money to identified payees. In some countries, such as the US, the payee may endorse the cheques, allowing them to specify a third party to whom it should be paid. There is early evidence of using cheques in ancient times. The ancient Romans are believed to have used an early form of cheque known as praescription in the 1st century BCE. These letters were used by traders in Persian territory in the 3rd century CE to issue credit letters. The letters were termed čakk, meaning ‘contract’ or ‘contractor’ These letters became later used in the Abbasid Caliphate and other Arab-ruled lands in the 4th century and 5th century CE. They were originally a legal device to allow international trade to spread. The word ‘cheque’ means ‘control’ in English through French, Latin, Arabic and ultimately from the Persian word shah.