In addition to this Miss Smith will be presented with what is called a pass-book - a book passing between the bank and herself, now become a customer - in which she will find it stated in the briefest business manner, that the Blankshire Bank is Dr. (debtor) to, or owes, Miss Jane Smith 500. She will be told that portions of this money may be drawn out from time to time as she may need it, but this can only be done by cheques, or forms of request to the bank to pay out the amount desired.* These forms, provided by the bank, are printed, blank spaces being left to be filled up in writing, and they are made up in books of various sizes, each form bearing a penny stamp. The customer pays for the book according to the number of stamps it contains, but no more. Miss Smith buys a cheque-book, and, opening it, finds the following form in print:

(* The practice with some people of writing cheques on plain paper is discountenanced by bankers, and is to be condemned.)

---------------------------------------------------------
| No. 10901.    | No. 10901.            "________" 189  |
|               |                                       |
| "________189  |   To the Blankshire Banking Company,  |
|               |                Blanktown.             |
|               |                                       |
| "___________" | Pay to "__________________" or bearer |
|               |                                       |
|               | the sum of "________________________" |
|               |                                       |
| "__________" |   "_________"         "____________" |
|               |                                       |
---------------------------------------------------------

She then recollects that she has no money to go on with, and asks to have 10 of the 500 she has left in the bank. The cashier offers to fill up the blank spaces in her first cheque, making corresponding entries in the counterfoil, and having done so asks her to sign it at the foot.

It then appears as follows:

---------------------------------------------------------
| No. 10901.    | No. 10901.           "_March_I," 1898 |
|               |                                       |
| March I, 1898 |   To the Blankshire Banking Company,  |
|               |                Blanktown.             |
|               |                                       |
| "___Self____" | Pay to "__Self____________" or bearer |
|               |                                       |
|               | the sum of "__Ten_Pounds____________" |
|               |                                       |
| 10_________" |   10________"         "_Jane_Smith_" |
|               |                                       |
---------------------------------------------------------

The cheque is detached from the counterfoil at the dotted line, and is retained by the cashier, who hands over 10 to the lady together with the book containing the remaining cheques.

"Oh! I had quite forgotten - I owe Miss Tucker, the milliner, 23 10s. Will the cashier please to let me have 23 10s. to pay her with."

Miss Smith is told that there is no need of incurring the risk of carrying the money through the streets, as a cheque in favour of Miss Tucker will equally answer the purpose; and again he fills up the blank spaces in a second cheque, which appears thus:

---------------------------------------------------------
| No. 10902.    | No. 10902.    !   !  "_March_I," 1898 |
|               |               !   !                   |
| March I, 1898 |   To the Blank!hir! Banking Company,  |
|               |               !Bla!ktown.             |
|               |               !   !        order J.S. |
| "Miss_Tucker" | Pay to "__Miss_Tucker_____" or ====== |
|               |               !   !                   |
|               | the sum of "Twenty-three_pounds_10/-" |
|               |               !   !                   |
| 23_10/-"___" |   23_10/-"__"!   !    "_Jane_Smith_" |
|               |               !   !                   |
---------------------------------------------------------

"You see," says the cashier, "I have struck out the word 'bearer' and substituted the word 'order.' This will oblige Miss Tucker to sign her name on the back of the cheque (technically, to 'endorse it') before it can be paid. Your initials are required to confirm the alteration.* I have also drawn parallel lines across the cheque, which makes it what is termed 'a crossed cheque,' and a crossed cheque cannot be cashed direct, but must be paid into an account at a bank. So you see you will have the signature of Miss Tucker, proving that she has been paid her bill by means of this cheque; and it is obvious that by crossing the cheque, should it be lost and made an improper use of, there would be no difficulty in tracing through whose hands it passed."

(* Banks also issue cheques with the word "order" printed instead of "bearer.")

Miss Smith soon learns that all her tradesmen's bills may be paid in the same way, without going to the bank to draw the money, and with the advantage that the cheque is not only a proof of payment, but that she has also a record of her accounts in the bank pass-book.

It may here be mentioned that should a banker cash a cheque with a forged "endorsement", he is not responsible, and the loss falls on the drawer of the cheque.* The crossing of a cheque, however, necessitating its being paid to a bank account, would facilitate the discovery of the culprit. An additional security is given to a crossed cheque if it bears the words "not negotiable" written underneath the crossing. This means that it cannot legally be used as a means of payment to a third party. In the event of such a cheque going wrong, the loss would fall upon a bank negotiating it for a customer. The bank could be called upon to make good the amount to the payee.

(* If, however, he pays a cheque with a forged signature he is responsible, as he is supposed to know the handwriting of his own customer.)

It is illegal to post-date a cheque, the reason being that bills of exchange, which are obligations to pay money at a future date, bear a much higher stamp duty than cheques. It would, therefore, be a fraud upon the revenue to make cheques do duty for bills of exchange.