London: An electronic cheque revives the traditional system of payment, minus the hassles of processing and transport costs, which vex both banks and retailers no end.
Each new generation cheque is written with a digital pen, which has a tiny camera to record any strokes made against millions of tiny dots printed on the surface of the paper tech-cheque book, which looks and works in much the same way as the cheques used traditionally.
The user then hands it over to the payee and fills in the stub for his own record. When he returns home, the pen sends the details via a wireless link to the bank for payment.
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, the Daily Mail reports.
Researcher John Vines, from the Newcastle University, said the tech-cheque was developed in partnership with a group of seniors 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," Vines added.
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 3.5 million 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.
These findings was presented on Monday at the Computer Supported Co-operative Work conference in Seattle, US.