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Money in the Western Legal TraditionMiddle Ages to Bretton Woods$
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David Fox and Wolfgang Ernst

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704744.001.0001

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Giro Payments and the Beginnings of the Modern Cashless Payment System

Giro Payments and the Beginnings of the Modern Cashless Payment System

(p.441) 21 Giro Payments and the Beginnings of the Modern Cashless Payment System
Money in the Western Legal Tradition

Stephan Meder

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the development of the giro payments, a method of transferring funds directly from one bank account to another without using money. The method marks the beginning of the modern cashless payment system. The history of modern giro commerce in Germany begins with the takeover of the Hamburg Girobank by the Reichsbank (the then central bank of Germany) in 1875. The Reichsbank developed on the model of the Hamburg system of transcription from account to account, and facilitated the transfer of portions of a customer’s credit balance to another account. In order to fulfil its function as ‘money’, the claim created by a cashless payment must satisfy two requirements. It must be created via a credit to an account and it must be realizable at any point for making payments. Only when the recipient’s claim against his bank becomes ‘final’, can one speak of a ‘payment’ having been made.

Keywords:   giro payments, transfer, cashless payment system, giro commerce, Germany, Hamburg Girobank, Reichsbank, Hamburg system of transcription, credit balance

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