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Demandable debt as a means of payment: banknotes versus checks


  • Charles M. Kahn
  • William Roberds


We examine the question of whether transactable forms of privately issued, demandable debt are better used as "banknotes" or "checks." The distinction between the two is that a check must be redeemed by the issuing bank with each use, whereas a banknote can circulate. We find that the answer to the question depends critically on the cost of early redemption. If this cost is small, banknotes will not circulate, so the question is moot. If this cost is large, incentive problems will prevent the issue of banknotes. For intermediate values of the early redemption cost, the option of early redemption limits the bank's risk-taking behavior, so that banknotes will be preferred over checks.
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Suggested Citation

  • Charles M. Kahn & William Roberds, 1999. "Demandable debt as a means of payment: banknotes versus checks," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 500-530.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcpr:y:1999:p:500-530

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arthur J. Rolnick & Warren E. Weber, 1988. "Explaining the demand for free bank notes," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 21-35.
    2. Champ, Bruce & Wallace, Neil & Weber, Warren E., 1994. "Interest rates under the U.S. national banking system," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 343-358, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Sanches, 2016. "On the Inherent Instability of Private Money," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 20, pages 198-214, April.
    2. Daniel R. Sanches, 2013. "Banking crises and the role of bank coalitions," Working Papers 13-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 04 Feb 2014.
    3. Sanches, Daniel, 2013. "On the welfare properties of fractional reserve banking," Working Papers 13-32, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 04 Feb 2013.
    4. Daniel Sanches, 2016. "On The Welfare Properties Of Fractional Reserve Banking," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 935-954, August.

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    Checks ; Bank notes;


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