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Old jobs will be lost, new ones created by paperless pay system, says business professor

October 14, 2003

America is about to take another step into the digital future, with the Check Clearing in the 21st Century Act, or Check 21.

Going into effect by 2006, the Act will allow banks to process checks electronically and return a digitally imaged substitute check to the account holder instead of shipping the original.
October 14, 2003

America is about to take another step into the digital future, with the Check Clearing in the 21st Century Act, or “Check 21.”

Going into effect by 2006, the Act will allow banks to process checks electronically and return a digitally imaged substitute check to the account holder instead of shipping the original.

“A financial system using paper checks is more labor intensive,” says Dr. William Rayburn, Austin Peay assistant professor of business." The costs associated with processing paper checks are far greater than those associated with electronic transfer.”

No longer extensively dependent upon air and ground transportation, the check clearing process will operate smoothly, regardless of inclement weather, plane/automobile crashes or terrorist attacks such as those of 2001, which delayed checks totaling $47 billion.

While some may view the technological advance in terms of lost jobs, Rayburn sees it otherwise.

“What you see in the newsand with justificationare jobs being eliminated by advances in technology,” says Rayburn. “But technology also creates new jobs, because someone has to perform the tasks of programming, servicing and designing.

Changes in technology also lead to new security concerns.

“If it's possible for thrill-seeking teenagers to hack into an FBI Web site, the new check clearing process could fall prey to cyber-terrorism by a group with a political purpose,” says Rayburn, who teaches courses on information systems.

Dr. Vernon Warren, APSU professor of political science, agrees. “Just as counterfitters learn our technologies, so will terrorists,” he says. “We have to do this, but we must realize they will catch up with the technology and try to stay a step ahead.”
Terry Stringer