It is thought that the Commercial Bank of Scotland was the first bank to personalize its customers' cheques, in 1811, by printing the name of the account holder vertically along the left-hand edge.In 1830 the Bank of England introduced books of 50, 100, and 200 forms and counterparts, bound or stitched.Etymological dictionaries attribute the financial meaning to come from "a check against forgery", with the use of "check" to mean "control" stemming from a check in chess, a term which came into English through French, Latin, Arabic and ultimately from the Persian word shah, or "king".
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.
Since then cheque usage has fallen, being partly replaced by electronic payment systems.
The UK passed the Bills of Exchange Act 1882, and India passed the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; An English cheque from 1956 having a bank clerk's red mark verifying the signature, a two-pence stamp duty, and holes punched by hand to cancel it.
This is a "crossed cheque" disallowing transfer of payment to another account.
These were handwritten, and one of the earliest known still to be in existence was drawn on Messrs Morris and Clayton, scriveners and bankers based in the City of London, and dated 16 February 1659.
In 1717, the Bank of England pioneered the first use of a pre-printed form.
These cheque books became a common format for the distribution of cheques to bank customers.
In the late 19th century, several countries formalized laws regarding cheques.
Cheques, a type of bill of exchange, then began to evolve.
Initially they were called drawn notes, because they enabled a customer to draw on the funds that he or she had in the account with a bank and required immediate payment.
Such an order was referred to as a bill of exchange.