01 May 2012

Why Credit Unions Should Not Trust You (At First)

People have been depositing and cashing checks for a long, long time. According to good old Wikipedia, the first check, called an “adesha,” can be traced back to India during the Mauryan period (321 to 185 BC). The Romans used an early form of checks known as “praescriptiones” in the 1st century BC. Between 1118 and 1307, the Knights Templar supposedly introduced a check system for pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land or across Europe.

It wasn’t until the early 1700s, however, that the pre-printed form of the check – as we know it today – was first used by the Bank of England. To keep track of the exchange of checks, banks simply kept a tally of balances until they settled with each other. In all of these historical cases, it seems to me that the whole idea of depositing and cashing check is all built on some notion of trust.

Read the rest of the article in the Austin Post.

Watch this excerpt from The Shepherd of the Hills (fast forward to 8:33)
"A check is a letter to the bank, where I have my money, telling them to pay cash to whoever has that letter.”--Daniel Howitt, The Shepherd of the Hills

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