When you go to a store, how often do you pay the cashier with a check? If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t and may not have used your checkbook in quite some time. After all, checks are messy, tiresome to write, troublesome to record, and, if you are the one getting paid with a check, there’s always the time it takes to deposit it and the risk of loss or theft if mailed. It’s no wonder that checks have been replaced with electronic cards all over the world. In fact, many countries have transitioned to electronic transactions far faster than the U.S.

But there are a number of areas where value transfer is still done with paper checks, or even cash. These are usually situations where there are special requirements. Perhaps the person being paid does not have a good relationship with a bank, making the use of a card or perhaps even a check, difficult or impossible. It’s a condition that affects over 100 million people in North America. Whatever the reason, there is a recognized and growing need to provide electronic payment technologies to a wider range of value transfers. A number of companies, both big and small, are moving to fill the gap.

• Global Payments, Inc., (NYSE: GPN) is one of the world’s largest transaction processors, and provides a comprehensive line of card processing and other payment solutions, including credit/debit, gift cards, purchasing cards, check conversion, and many other services.

• Hypercom Corporation (NYSE:HYC) is a global provider of electronic payment solutions, providing terminals, networking, and software technologies for electronic payment.

• Default Proof Credit Card System (OTCBB: DPRS) develops systems for issuing secured, prepaid, stored value, gift, payroll, and credit/debit cards.

• CompuCredit Corp (NASDAQ: CCRT) markets branded credit cards, focusing on consumers who are underserved by traditional financial institutions.

One of the most aggressive movers in this growing field is Canadian based Consorteum Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB: CSRH), which prides itself in tapping a variety of card technologies to provide its clients with more flexible payment options. Consorteum provides sophisticated card-based solutions for clients dealing with un-banked or under-banked employees or customers, loyalty and reward programs, temp employees, health and wellness data integration requirements, gift cards, and rebate programs. They also provide reduced merchant card discount rates, a big financial incentive to potential clients.

Transferring money may never be totally paperless, but the end of checks is certainly on the horizon.

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