GB2035642A - Voucher printing system - Google Patents

Voucher printing system Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2035642A
GB2035642A GB7937816A GB7937816A GB2035642A GB 2035642 A GB2035642 A GB 2035642A GB 7937816 A GB7937816 A GB 7937816A GB 7937816 A GB7937816 A GB 7937816A GB 2035642 A GB2035642 A GB 2035642A
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means
customer
party
system
comprises
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GB7937816A
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Bunker Ramo Corp
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Bunker Ramo Corp
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Priority to US96274478A priority Critical
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Publication of GB2035642A publication Critical patent/GB2035642A/en
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q40/00Finance; Insurance; Tax strategies; Processing of corporate or income taxes
    • G06Q40/02Banking, e.g. interest calculation, credit approval, mortgages, home banking or on-line banking
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F19/00Complete banking systems; Coded card-freed arrangements adapted for dispensing or receiving monies or the like and posting such transactions to existing accounts, e.g. automatic teller machines
    • G07F19/20Automatic teller machines [ATMs]
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F19/00Complete banking systems; Coded card-freed arrangements adapted for dispensing or receiving monies or the like and posting such transactions to existing accounts, e.g. automatic teller machines
    • G07F19/20Automatic teller machines [ATMs]
    • G07F19/201Accessories of ATMs

Abstract

A microprocessor-controlled terminal having a key-board and indicator prompting lights thereon for directing customer actions, communicates with a data base e.g. by means of a host processor and a programmable control unit. Based upon information read from a plastic card inserted by the customer, or from direct keyboard input by the customer, as well as account information stored in the data base, the host processor causes a printer to print and dispense a cash voucher, while at the same time debiting the customer's account by the amount of the voucher.

Description

SPECIFICATION Voucher printing system Technical field The invention relates to printing devices, and more particularly to printers utilized to print negotiable instruments in financial transactions and in real-time communication with customer account information.

Background of the prior art Attempts at speeding fund transfer and credit transactions have been made by several manufacturers during the past few years. Thus, devices are presently available for utilization in banking, institutions, known as automated teller machines (ATM), for dispersing cash to a customer. Similarly, point of sale (POS) devices are available for conducting credit transactions at retail establishements. Such credit validation and verification techniques are time consuming. By requiring teller or clerical intervention, substantial amounts of personnel time is lost in such transactions. The present invention provides vouchers for use by customers and eliminates use of store and bank personnel in credit approval and other similar transactions.

Ordinary POS devices require the intervention of the merchant or high agent in obtaining credit verification. Additionally, a validation form, or a check to be guaranteed, needs to be inserted into the printer and properly positioned in order to obtain a receipt. The present invention eliminates both the merchant intervention in a voucher transaction and the need for positioning of a document in the printer.

Cash dispensing devices are currently available at courtesy counters, check out lines and the like, and require storage of a supply of cash therein. Such storage is associated with a certain risk loss. A voucher dispenser as described herein requires no such storage of cash and is thus advantageously more secure than standard cash dispensers.

Many prior art devices rely on information stored on the customer's credit card for account limits, without having direct access to the customer's account. Still other such devices incorporate a local processor for storage of daily transaction data, and provide for periodic (e.g., daily) account updating.

The present invention provides improved operation of such devices by permitting the customer to interact directly with the system via a terminal having a keyboard and indicator prompting lights thereon for directing customer actions. The customer transaction may occur at a station removed from the merchant's check out counter and vouchers are printed (either on preprinted forms or on blank paper) without cashier involvement and presented to the merchant or his representative and negotiated as cash. The present printer further utilizes two-ply forms to provide a receipt copy for the customer, and eliminates the requirement for insertion and positioning of forms within the printer.As previously mentioned, the present terminal includes a capabil- ity to communicate with a data base concerning the customer's according information in order to verify the account, debit the same and print and disperse a voucher for the requester amount. The customer presents the voucher to the merchant and tenders the same in lieu of cash payment for merchandise being brought. Thus, the voucher is independent of the merchandise purchased. The merchant, upon presenting the voucher to a bank or other institution maintaining or having access to the account data, is credited with the face value of each voucher as if cash were being deposited. Accordingly, if the voucher present by the customer is for an amount in excess of the purchase price, the merchant will refund cash to the customer.The present system effectively provides a negotiable certified check to the customer.

Hyman, U.S. Patent 3,959,773 discloses the use of a central bank computer in communication with a POS device and a printer to conduct a financial transaction and provide a print-out on a two-ply, preassembled manually inserted form. The print-out includes a first form indicating the amount of the transaction, essentially a validation receipt. The second form discloses the amount and the account balances before and after the transaction, and is provided to the customer. In operation the system debits the customer's account, and the first form is retained by the check out attendant as a permanent record of the sale. Operation, however, requires intervention of the mechant or his agent and is wasteful of the check out attentant's time. Effectively, the system operates as an automated credit card slip printer including in its operation the steps of validation and debiting.Additionally, the device requires the proper positioning of a credit card statement between the roller and print hammer of a printer.

As previously discussed, the present invention is conservative of the check out attendant's time, and utilizes the customer to perform the various steps in obtained a printer voucher. Further, the voucher is printed and dispensed by the printer and does not require the time consuming step of positioning the credit transaction slip in the printer.

While devices are available for printing humanly readable negotiable items, as found in Lansing et ai U.S. patent 4,017,837, such check writers do not include any transfer of information with an account data base, and thus are devoid of the validation or authorization function. Similar to other devices previously discussed, in '837 the item to be printed is inserted as a blank check form for imprinting.

Other references known to the applicants which relates to credit terminals include Vass et al U.S.

patent 3,931,614, which discloses a data terminal communicating with a CPU to verify and authorize credit. A receipt is provided having an amount and an authorization number imprinted thereon. Boothroyed et al U.S. patent 3,970,992 is illustrative of off-line transaction systems, wherein a written record of a user transaction is dispensed in response to a user information card. Nakamura et al U.S.

patent 4,068,213 provides a merchandise check out system wherein account information is carried on a card, the information being updated by the system, and a printed receipt and journal record being provided thereby.

Another POS device, the Financial Transaction Terminal (FTT) is manufactured by the assignee hereof, Information Systems Division of Bunker Ramo Corporation, Trumbull, Connecticut, and is described in the Technical Manual TM-398 available from the manufacturer. Such devices, utilized in conjunction with a customer bank card, are used for check varification and validation as well as credit autorizations. Additionally, deposits, withdrawals, transfers, advances and inquires may be made to and from an account by a customer using the FTT.

The present invention provides an on line, realtime system for voucher printing, operating in an efficient manner to dispense a form which may be multi-ply to a customer.

With respect to the printing, dispensing and cutting operation, Carrus et al U.S. patent 3,931,761 discloses an apparatus printing along the full width of a paper utilizing a matrix printerto provide betting tickets in a computer-controlled totalizer system. The tickets are on a tape played from a reel and severed by a cutter having a movable cutting member cooperating with a stationary member. An electromagnet activates the movable member. A synchrn- nization disc is utilized in conjunction with a photocell to sense tape location. None of the references or commerical devices currently available are capable of use in a system wherein a negotiable voucher is printed, an account debited, and the voucher cut from a paper supply and dispensed.

Brief summary of the invention The present invention overcomes the difficulties of the prior art and provides a voucher printing system using a microprocessor controlled keyboard and display terminal. The terminal is in communication with a data base by means of a host processor and a programmable control unit, or PCU. Conceivably, however, all processing might be carried out by the terminal, and the host processor and PCU may be eliminated. Based upon information read from a card (typically a plastic card having magnetically encoded data thereon) inserted by a customer, as well as account information stored in the data base, the host computer causes a printer to print and dispense a cash voucher, while at the same time detiting the customer's account by the amount of the voucher.The customer tenders the voucher to a merchant in payment for merchandise, and/or for receipt of cash therefor. Conceivably, similar systems may operate without relying on a card for any information, and may accept both the account number and a secret number from direct keyboard input by the customer, possibly with identity verification by means of an optical fingerprint sensor, or the like.

For utilization in multi-lingual environments, information may be recorded on the customer's card and conveyed to the host computer for controlling the language of the transaction. Accordingly, the voucher and prompting instructions displayed on the terminal may be in one of a plurality of languages, selected by the host processor based upon information recorded on the card. The printer portion of the terminal includes an internal supply of imprintable medium, as well as means for advancing the paper through the printing station of the terminal and severing the printed form. The severing operation is performed by a novel cutting apparatus which permits the use of multi-ply paper for the imprintable medium, to provide both a voucher and a customer receipt.The paper may be preprinted with the voucher form and the printer may fill in information such as the voucher amount, account number, merchant location and the like, or the paper may be substantially blank. In the latter event, the printer provides all the output information on the form.

In either case, the paper includes detectable indicia thereon, and the printing apparatus comprises sensors for detecting the indicia in order to determine registration of the voucher in the print station. Optical indicia, such as blank lines spaced along one edge of the paper may be used in conjunction with photoelectric sensing devices. For variable format output, counting and spacing means may be provided within the terminal or the host computerto determine passage of a predetermined number of indicia prior to printing of information on the paper.

These and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the following specification and appended claims, when considered in conjunction with the attached drawings.

Brief description of the drawing Figure 1A illustrates a terminal of the type contemplated by the present invention.

Figure 1B shows a printer for use with the terminal 15 of Figure 1A.

Figure 2 is a block diagram showing the elements of the present system.

Figure 3 provides a block diagram of the terminal of the present invention.

Figures 4A and 4B show a flow chart representation of the operating system used in the terminal of the present invention.

Figure 6 is a plan view of the printer showing the positioning of the printer, cutter, and black dot sensor.

Figure 7A shows a front view, in elevation and partially in cross section, of the printer of the present invention.

Figure 7B shows a partial section of Figure 7A, showing the pivotal mounting of a moving cutting blade.

Figure 8 shows a left side elevationa view, partly in cross section, illustrating the cutting mechanism of Figure 7.

Figure 9 is a profile view of the moving blade of Figures 7 and 8.

Figure 10 shows the paper used in the present invention and the black dots located thereon.

Detailed description of the invention In accordance with the invention as hereinabove summarized, a terminal is shown in Figure 1A and is generally referenced by the numeral 10. The terminal includes a 12-digit numeric display with limited alphabetic capabilities and a decimal point, a keyboard 14 having thereon a plurality of programmable Transaction Control function keys 16 and a 12-day numeric block 18. Sixteen user-specified message indicators, providing fully interactive prompting for the user, as well as system response and status, are shown at 20. The display may be comprised of liquid crystal display elements, light emitting diodes, or the like, while the message indicators are preferably comprised of individual light emitting diodes or other light indicators illuminating individually labelled blocks.The terminal is a microprocessor controlled device integrated with a transaction card reader 72 reading data from a user supplied card 24. The card reader allows account number entry from magnetically encoded plastic cards and is preferably provided with reading capability for track 2 cards, encoded according to the ABA standard, although any standard and format may clearly by utilized. Other media may also be used as carriers for the encoded data.

Figure 1 B shows a printer, generally labelled 30, in perspective. The printer includes therein a paper roll, covered by access cover 32, preferably secured by a lock 34. The printer chassis includes an opening 36 for dispensing the printed forms. The paper advance, printing, and cutting operations occur in section 38 of the printer, discussed in greater detail in the sequel. The printer may have mounting devices, such as studs 39, shown in Figure 7A and Figure 8, attached to mounting terminal 10 thereon.

The studs cooperate with female receptacles (not shown) in terminal 10 to provide a secure mount and a combined terminal-printer.

Referring now to Figure 2, an operating terminal 40, including therein a keyboard terminal 10 and printer 30 described above, is shown connected by means of bidirectional communication path 42 to a programmable control unit (PCU) 44. Other operating terminals, shown in dashed line at 46, are similarly connected to the PCU 44. The PCU 44, may, in fact, control communications between the various operating terminals 40... 46. Operating terminal 40 is of the type used to input financial transactions to a computer, such terminals being currently on the market and manufactured and distributed by manufacturers such as Bunker Ramo Corporation of Oak Brook, Illinios, and identified as the Financial Transaction Terminal. The basic function of such a terminal is to permit the input data via keyboard 14.

In accordance with the present invention, in the event that a customer wishes to obtain a credit voucher in order to pay for merchandise at a check out counter, it is necessary first to input information to the system pertaining to a bank account number for detiting by the voucher amount. Such input may be obtained by reading a magnetically encoded stripe on a credit card. Of course, the data may be optically, electrically or mechanically encoded on other identification devices carried by the customer.

The information may even be manually enterable by the customer. A second input is provided and relates the actual amount to be debited. The information is transmitted over conventional communication lines to the PCU 44, which has as one of its basic functions that of controlling a number of attached operating terminals. The output of PCU 44 is provided over bidirectional line 48 to a host computer 50.

Often, the protocal for the operating terminal 40 and the host computer 50 will be different. Similar differences may exist between the associated bidirectional communication paths 42 and 48.

Accordingly, a primary function of the PCU 44 is to reformat data from lines 42 to a format consistent with that acceptable by the host computer 50 and appearing on the data path 48. The reverse process is also necessary when data is fed from the host computer 50 to the operating terminal 40 via path 48 and 42 through PCU 44. An additional function of the PCU is to perform limited checking and validation of the messages. Such message validation includes checking the field length of the messages.

The host computer 50 is generally an existing computer that controls the entire network. Therefore, it is often necessary to provide a PCU 44 for data reformating. Host computer 50 may typically be an IBM Series 370 computer. A data base 52 is indicated as communicating with the host computer 50 via bidirectional communication line 54. Typically, such a data base 52 maintains account information for a customer requesting the preparation of a voucher. It is the host computer 50 which controls the logic of the transaction, as will be hereinafter explained in greater detail.

It is possible to implement software for the host computer 50 so that a PCU 44 is not necessary.

However, in order for host computer 50 to exercise the various functions of PCU 44, a less time efficient operation may result.

As an example of a PCU 44, reference is made to such a unit manufactured by the Bunker Ramo Corporation of Oak Brook, Illinios, designated by the manufacturer as Model 90/20C.

Referring now to Figure 3, an operating terminal of the present invention is shown in greater detail as communicating with the PCU over line 42. The terminal is a customer-operated device installed at the point of sale. The device, connected to the central host computer as previously discussed, is operational only when the communication path 42 and PCU 44 are both functional, thus comprising an active communication link to the host computer. The communication link may thus consist of a standard baud telecommunications circuit between the terminal and the PCU, and a standard telecommunica tions circuit, for example not exceeding 4800 baud, between PCU and the host computer. Up to 256 terminals may be concentrated into a single Bunker Ramo BSC-90 PCU to reduce the communications network and cost. The units may be configured into several combinations of Drop Sharers Modem Sharers (708022) and PCU Concentrators, all available from Bunker Ramo.

The operating terminal is shown in the Figure as being controlled by a microprocessor 60. Typically, a Motorola 6800 microprocessor is used, and operated in accordance with a program stored in memory 62.

The memory may be a read only memory (ROM) having a fixed program stored therein for control of the microprocessor.

A typical transaction begins with a customer inserting a a bank card having a magnetic strip thereon into transaction card reader 64. The information encoded on the card, or other device utilized for such purposes, is read by the transaction card reader 64 and stored in the terminal. Operation continues with the customer inserting a secret code known only to the customer, via keyboard 66 on terminal 10.

The code may be stored on the card for reading by the transaction card reader 64, may be stored with the account information in data base 52, or may be encrypted in the account number itself. The preferred embodiment utilizes the latter approach, with decoding and comparison of the encrypted number with the keyboard entry occurring at host computer 50. The next step of the transaction requires the customer to enter the amount desired via keyboard 14, the amount being displayed to the customer on display 68 for added verification. During the transaction, a plurality of light indicators 70, corresponding to message indicators 20 of Figure 1A, are used to coach and prompt the customer through the sequence of keyboard entries, as disclosed in the sequel.

Data entered from keyboard 66, as well as card information from transaction card reader 64, are formated into a message in buffer 72, utilizing a random access memory (RAM). Other storage devices may, of course, be used as known to those skilled int he art. The buffered message is transmitted to PCU 44 via bidirectional communication path 52 by transmitting unit 74. The PCU, upon receipt of the message transmitted by unit 74 over path 42, will reform the message as necessary and reqrnnsmft the message to host computer 50 via path 48. An application program, stored in host computer 50, verifies the account number and checks for correspondence between the PIN number and the account number, and interrogates the customer's account in data base 52 for the existance of sufficient funds.In the event that all responses are positive, i.e., the account number has been verified and corresponds to the keyboard entered PIN number, and the account includes sufficient funds to cover the voucher, validation of the requested transaction is in order. In this event, the host computer 50 constructs an appropriate reply message for the PCU 44 via path 48, containing therein information to be printed on the voucher. Such information may include, by way of illustration and not of limitation, the date, terminal reference number, card number, amount of transaction, and the name and address of the establishment. The PCU, possibly after reformatting if necessary, passes the received message via path 42 to terminal 10 of the Figure 1A, for receipt by receiver 76, shown in Figure 3.The received information, after appropriate buffering by buffer 72, is transferred under the control of microprocessor 60 to printer 78, corresponding to printer 30 of Figure 1 B, along with simple commands to advance the paper, initialize printing, print the received information, advance the paper to a registered position, and activate a cutter for the printed voucher.

In addition to printing controls, an error recovery situation is contemplated, the error recovery mode being entered when no paper is detected by the sensor, a paper jam occurs, or the like. Further, microprocessor 60 may cause printer 78 to operate in a diagnostic mode under control of keyboard entered messages by service personnel, for example. During a diagnostic mode it is, of course, desired that any printing performed on the voucher forms will not be construed to create an actual voucher.

Accordingly, during a diagnostic mode a voiding message such as the alphabet is printed by printer 78.

Additional information contained on the customer's card, and conceivably enterable from the keyboard, pertains to the language in which instructions will be displayed as well as the language in which the voucher is to be printed. For example, in a multi-lingual nation such as Belgium, where Dutch and French are spoken, a Dutch speaking customer's card may be encoded to reflect the lingual status of the customer, so that the information returning from host computer 50 through PCU 44 to terminal 40 is formatted to cause printer 78 to output data in a Dutch format. Additionally, the message indicators 20 provided on the face of terminal 10 may incorporate duplicate indicators, associated with duplicate messages in the different languages.The message received from host computer 50 may thus be used to cause one or another of the sets of indicators 20 to illuminate messages in one or another of the languages utilized in the particular country.

In the event that the application program residing in host computer 50 detects a reason for not validating the transaction, such as invalid account number, a non-correlation between the entered PIN number and the account number, or an excessive amount requested in view of the available funds in the customer's data base account, a rejection message will be constructed and transmitted to the terminal in the same manner as the previously described message denoting acceptance and printing a voucher was transmitted to terminal 10. The rejection message is received by a receiver 76 of Figure 3 and is used to cause a rejection message to be displayed either on display 68, or by message light 70 or an invalidation print out on printer 78.

Aflow chart describing the operation of the inventive system is shown in Figures 4A and 4B.

Referring specifically to Figure 4A, the initial state of the machine is shown at step 126. Starting atthe initial state, step 128 causes illumination of one of message indicators 20 on terminal 10, specifically the message instructing the customer to read the bank card. Clearly, the bi-lingual situations as herein contemplated, the message illuminated in step 128 could be in both languages. When a customer, responding to the message indicator illuminated in step 128, pulls the bank card through the card reader at step 130, a preliminary checkforvalidity is made in step 132. In the event that microprocessor 60 determines a preliminary invalidity or reading error in step 132, a second message indicator is illuminated by step 134, indicating to the customer the existance of a "read error". The program causes the terminal to return to step 128 via loop 135. Step 132, in addition to checking for preliminary signas of validity and read error, may be utilized to detect the lingual preference of the customer as encoded on the card. Accordingly, the message illuminated by step 134 may properly be in the customer's preferred language. Where the lingual preference of the prompters is controlled by the host computer, however, no lingual differentiation would be possible until step 208, infra.

In the event that the card read in step 130 by card reader 64 passes the validity check, an indicator is lit by step 136 requesting the customer to enter the PIN number. Step 138 resets the PIN storage, clearing the same for input of the customer's PIN number.

Conceivably a time out step could be used after step 136 to assure that the "enter PIN number" indicator will not remain lit indefinitely. If the customer leaves the terminal, the indicator will thus turn off after a predetermined delay. The time out step could be associated with, or replaced by, a reset key enabling customer controlled resetting of the program to a specific point, such as the PIN storage reset, for example. The keyboard is activated by step 140 to accept keystrokes representing the customer's PIN number. Upon activation of the keyboard, a plurality of steps is used to accept four key strokes from the customer, as well as to take corrective measures in the event of an error.

Specifically, step 140 detects depression of a key on the keyboard. At step 142 the depression of the "correction" key is detected. The correction key is stroked by the customer in the event of a mistaken entry in the PIN number at step 140. Where depression of the correction key is detected, a loop 144 causes return to the reset step 138 for receipt of the proper PIN number. Where the correction key has not been depressed, if the customer for any reason strokes the "stop" key at step 146, the program causes the machine to abort at step 148 by returning to the initial state of the machine at step 126. Once a key is depressed and is neither corrected nor stopped, step 150 is used to determine whether four key strokes have been provided and accepted by the customer.In the event that the number of key strokes is less that four, the number received thus far is stored and displayed in step 152, which also returns the program via loop 154 to step 140 for receipt of the next key stroke. Once four key strokes have been accepted, step 150 provides an outlet for the program, via point 156, to step 158.

At step 158 a further indicator is lit, directing the customer to enter a transaction amount, and the amount storage area is reset, or cleared, by step 160, for receipt of the amount from the keyboard. Step 162 provides sensitization of the keyboard to receive a key stroke, coupled with a seven second timing step 164. Once the seven second delay is surpassed, the program exists via step 166 to point B of Figure 4B for validation. In the event that a correstion or stop key is depressed, shown at steps 168 and 172, the program returns to receive the corrected amount via step 170 or aborts via step 174, respectively, in a manner similar to that previously described for entry of the PIN number. Steps 162, 164, 168, 172 and 176 thus are used to accept key strokes from the customer until a full amount has been received.In the event that the enter key is depressed at any time, step 176 causes the program to exit the loop and proceed to point B in Figure 48 for validation. If neither the correction, stop, nor enter keys are depressed, step 178 causes storage and display of the amount data thus far keystroked, and return, via step 180, to obtain a further key from the customer.

Thus, the amount entruy is considered complete either by exceeding a seven second delay after depressing a key, or by depressing the "enter" key.

Of course, the seven second delay may be used to abort the transaction or to transfer to a different point in the program.

The program continues at 184 to Figure 48, starting at 186. Step 188 causes the illumination of one of message indicators 20 specifically asking the customer if the amount displayed is properly indicative of the desired voucher amount. Several steps and a loop are then provided for the customer to verify the amount displayed. Specifically, at step 190 the system awaits any keystroke by the customer. In the event that the Correction key is depressed, step 192 causes the program to transfer, by entry point 194, to step 156 in order to restart the amount input process. In the event that the Correction key has not been depressed, the program continues to step 196 to determine whether the Stop Key has been depressed.If the Stop key was depressed, the program aborts by transferring, at step 198, to the initial state of the machine in step 126. If neither the Correction nor the Stop keys were depressed, the program determines at step 200 whether the Enter key is depressed. If the resut of the inquiry is negative, that is, if the Enter key has not been depressed, loop 202 returns the program to step 190 to obtain a key stroke from the customer. Thus, steps 190-202 have the terminal looping while awaiting the stroking of the Correct, Stop, or Enter keys. A correction requires reinsertion of the amount by the customer, while the Stop key aborts the procedure, and depression of the Enter key permits the program to exit from the loop and activate an indicator at step 204, telling the customer that the transaction is being processed and requesting that the customer wait till the processing is completed.In step 206 the terminal microprocessor constructs the various customer inputs into a message. Particularly, the information read from the card, the entered PIN number and the amount requested are formatted into a message for transmission to PCU 44. Step 208 is the transmission step to PCU 44, and at step 210 the terminal awaits for a reply to the message transmitted in step 208.

Upon receipt of a reply message from PCU 44, the terminal interrogates the received message in steps 212 and 224. At step 212 the terminal interrogates the message to determinewhetherthe PIN number entered by the customer was correct and acceptable.

In the event that the PCU provides an indication that the PIN number was in error, the terminal indicates at step 214 that a bad PIN number has been entered by illumination of one of the message indicators 20.

In step 218 the terminal awaits the depression of any key by the customer to indicate that the message pertaining to the unacceptable PIN number has been received. If seven seconds elapse without depression of a key by the customer, step 220 will return the program, via step 22, to initial state 126, thus effectively aborting the operation. If the customer depresses a key, the terminal microprocessor proceeds by step 222, to initial step 126. Conceivably, the operating sequence could send the system to step 138, restarting the PIN entry routine, upon indication of a keystroke at step 218 indicating the customer's awareness of a PIN problem.

If the PCU reply message includes an indication that the amount entered by the customer is improper, step 224 takes the terminal to step 226, where an indicator showing that an improper amount has been entered is activated to inform the customer.

Typically, amount exceeding the funds available cause the indicator to be activated at step 226. Steps 228, 230 and 232 act in an identical fashion as steps 218,220 and 222.

In the event that the message received from PCU 44 provides no indication of improper PIN number or of improper amount, the terminal progresses to step 234 to provide an indication to the customer that the voucher requested is being printed. In segment 236 the voucher is actually printed in the printer and includes the actual steps for causing a dot matrix print head to print on the paper, advancing of the form to the proper locations for imprinting, advancing the form to a predetermined position for activation of a cutter, and activation of the cutter for dispensing. Additionally, error recovery and diagnostic routines may be included. Thus, if the paper is not sensed as being atthe predetermined position, whether due to a paper jam, lack of paper or other malfunction, an error indication could be given.Of cource, a self-diagnostic procedure may be included whereby several sensors may be interrogated to determine the exact status of the printer. Similarly, a diagnostic mode may be included to permit service personnel to interrogate the machine and to exercise it through its various functions. However, since negotiable forms are provided by the present printer, any diagnostic steps must include steps to assure that valid vouchers will not be printed during the diagnosis. Thus, service personnel may be permitted to command the terminal to print, but the contents of the print message might be determined by the program to include, for example, the complete alphabet or a non-sensical rhyme, or the like.

Accordingly, segment 236 is shown as including the sub-steps 238, causing the paper to advance; 240, activating the print head; 242 advancing the paper to the cutting location; 244, sensing registration indicia provided on the paper; 246, stopping the paper conveying mechanism; and 248, activation of cutting mechanism.

Upon completion of segment 236 and the various sub-steps thereof, including the error recovery and diagnostic modes previously described but not shown, step 250 transfers the terminal to its initial state at step 126 to await the beginning of a new transaction.

PCU 44, previously described, essentially serves as a concentrator and message handler. Devices such as the Bunker Ramo PCU, or other mini computers such as a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP 11 may similarly be used.

In order to perform the functions required by segment 236 of the program in Figure 48, printer 30 is provided with a roll stock of documents and had the capability to feed the documents under program control. Ability to feed the documents relative to predetermined positions, particularly utilizing registration indicia associated with the documents, is required of the printer, as is the ability to cut and dispense the documents under program control. As previously discussed, the printer also has the ability to print alpha-numeric characters in one of a plurality of languages, under control of the host computer.

In order to perform the above functions, several features are incorporated into the printer as shown in Figures 6-8.

Referring now to Figures 6-9, a roll of stock material 300 is mounted on a spool 302 within printer housing 304. The roll 300 is located in a recess in housing 304 accessible by a journal access cover 306 which may be locked in place by key lock 308. A cutting mechanism is located at 310 and is more fully described in conjunction with Figures 7-9.

A print head, preferably of the dot matrix printing variety, available as Model 7040Tfrom LRC Corpora- tion, in Riverton, Wyoming, is generally shown at 312, and a paper conveying means such as a motor driven frictional drive roll is shown at 314 cooperating with an upper pressure roller 313. A paper release lever 315 may be provided for manual release of the paper path to permit simplified reloading and spooling of the printer with a new paper supply. A sensor 316 is positioned adjacent the path followed by the stock material, which may be paper, as it is played out from roll 300 to detect registration indicia thereon. The indicia may be electrostatically, magnetically, or optically detectable.As shown in Figure 10, paper 318 (whetherwith or without an imprinted form thereon) includes thereon optically detectable indicia 320, hereinafter referenced as "black dots". The signals generated by sensor 316 upon detection of the black dots 320 are transmitted to microprocessor 60 which in turn provides control signals to a motor for drive roll 314, and to print heat 312, as well as to the solenoid associated with cutting mechanism 310. Utilization of indicia on the paper permits utilization of the present invention to print vouchers of varying physical dimensions. That is, the system operation shown in Figures 4A and 4B may easily be altered to include a step dictating the width of the printed form and a second step whereby a count is established corresponding to the desired width. The count is decremented each time a black dot is sensed until a zero count is obtained, at which time the printing and/or dispensing process may continue similarly to the situation contemplated in Figures 4A-B, where the arrangement of elements from a plan view, and include a power cord 322 and a communication connector 324 for use with the terminal microprocessor. Also shown in the Figure is a printing ribbon 326 for use with print head 312. The ribbon 326 is wound between two spools, shown at 328 and 330.

The cutting mechanism located at 310 in Figure 6 is shown in greater detail in Figures 7 and 8.

The physical environment of the printer placed dimensioning constraints on any equipment located thereon. Solenoids suitable for utilization within the limited available space will, accordingly, have more limited available work output. It is thus necessary that maximum activated by the solenoid and that losses due to friction between the cutting blades and the like be minimized. The present invention achieves such increased efficiency by utilization of point contact, rather than line or surface contact, between the cutting blades. Application of the cutting force between the blades at a point results in increased pressure and thus paper penetration, as opposed to application of the same force at an elongated point, line or surface.The present blades are further provided with appropriate curvatures in order to result in a progression of point penetration to yield the desired cutting action.

To achieve the above-mentioned result, a moving blade is properly mounted with respect to a fixed blade to provide a point contact between the blades.

Because it is desired to utilize the cutting mechanism with a moving paper, and because the paper is contemplated as having a plurality of plies, it is determined that a guillotine type cutter is inappropriate inasmuch as the severed paper tends to have a deflection at the cut edge, the deflection often times jamming against one or the other blades. Thus, a pivoting cutter blade is utilized in the present invention.

In such pivoted cutting blades providing a "scissors" action, rotation of the moving blade about the pivot causes the cutting point to progress towards the far end of the blade. With such progress the point tends to become elongated with straight blades.

Accordingly, the moving blade provided in the present invention is curved to maintain a limited contact area between the blades and provide a cutting point rather than cutting line or surface. A further curvature is provided on the cutting edge itself in order to maintain substantially constant the cutting angle between the blades throughout the cutting stroke.

Referring now specifically to Figures 7 and 8, the cutting mechanism of the present invention includes a frame member 322 having a fixed blade 334 mounted thereon. A moving blade 336, pivotably mounted at 338 to a protrusion 335 in 332, is activated by a solenoid 340 acting through a linkage.

The linkage between solenoid 340 and blade 336 includes a link 342 and a crank 344, applying pressure to a broadened horizontal portion of the underside of blade 336, at contact area 346.

The blade is further acted upon by springs 348 and 350. Spring 348 performs two functions, specifically returning the moving cutting blade 336 to its rest position after activation by solenoid 340, and further providing a loading bias on moving blade 336 against fixed blade 334. Spring 350 provides a clamping force against blade 336.

In operation the paper to be severed travels along a a path 352 until detection of a black dot by sensor 316. Detection of the black dot and transmission of that information to microprocessor 60 results in issuance of a command by the microprocessor to the motor drive rolls 314 to cease the paper conveying motion, and a subsequent command to activate solenoid 340. The paper path 352 passes under the fixed blade 334 and over the cutting edge 354 of blade 336. Activation of solenoif 340 accordingly causes the upward, clockwise pivoting of blade 336 when viewed in Figure 7A. The upward motion of cutting edge 354 causes the paper to be cut between blades 334 and 336. A first rubber bumper 356, mounted on frame member 332, noiselessly limits travel of the blade 336 and the armature of solenoid 340.A second bumper 358 limits downward motion of the blade and corresponding travel of the solenoid armature. Adjustment of the plunger stroke is permitted by solenoid mounting bracket 360.

Blade 36 is pivoted at point 338 by a mounting shown in greater detail in Figure 7B. Specifically, a bearing 362 mounts the blade loosely on a post 364, retained on a portion 365 of frame member 332 by a screw 336 and a jam nut 368. Screw 336 and nut 368 cooperate to adjust the clamping force of spring 350 against the blade. A nylon hemispherical fulcrum 370 counteracts the blade to blade contact force.

As mentioned above, moving blade 336 is provided with a transverse curvature, concave towards fixed blade 334, in order to maintain cutting action at a point during the travel of blade 336. The curvature, which is more pronounced towards the far end, is apparent from inspection of Figure 8.

Additionally, the cutting edge 354 is provided with curvature convex to the fixed blade to maintain the cutting angle substantially the same throughout the travel of blade 336. The curvature of the blade is shown in Figure 9 and is described by the equation Y = AX(2X+1) where X and Y measurements taken along coordinates indicated in Figure 9, and A is a constant which determines the rate of curvature change. A suitable value for A for the present application has been found to be 0.010 inch.

Spring 348, maintaining the blades in contact and returning the moving blade and solenoid armature and power train to their rest positions, is so arranged as to increase its pull on the moving blade, both towards the fixed blade and towards the rest position, as cutting progresses. The increased pull towards the fixed blade is necessary to compensate for loss of leverage as cutting progresses towards the far end of the blade. Increased pull towards the rest position is necesary to overcome the blade-toblade friction and to start the moving blade on its return path to the rest position.

In accordance with the description of the preceding specification, the device of the present invention provides a voucher printing and dispensing apparatus, for use at locations remote from an account information data bank. The apparatus may be located at retail sales establishments, commodity dispensing locations such as gasoline stations, banks, etc., and includes means for validation of a transaction and for debiting an account of a customer. Of course, it is conceivable that the apparatus may also include program steps for crediting the account of a merchant, although this feature would necessitate the placement of the operating terminal at the check out counter and might therefore increase the requirements for time expenditure by check out personnel.

The preceding specification describes, by way of illustration and not of limitation, a preferred embodiment of the invention. Equivalent variations of the described embodiment will occur to those skilled in the art. Such variations, modifications, and equivalents are within the scope of the invention as recited with greater particularity in the following claims, when interpreted to obtain the benefits of all equivalents to which the invention is fairly entitled.

Claims (23)

1. A system for issuing validated negotiable instruments in a customer transaction comprising: a terminal means for communicating between a customer and the system, including first input means for receiving customer-generated input data, first output means for providing prompting instructions to the customer and for displaying information pertinent to the transaction; second output means for dispensing a negotiable instrument for a specified amount requested by the customer, including means for creating said negotiable instrument on stock material, and means for dispensing said negotiable instrument to the customer; data base means including therein information pertinent to an account associated with the customer; means for communicating information between said terminal and said data bade means; means for validating input data supplied by the customer; and means for debiting an account by the amount for which the intrument is issued.
2. The system as claimed in Claim 1, wherein said terminal means further comprises microprocessor control means therefor, and wherein said means for communicating information comprises host processor means for communicating with said data base means, for prompting the customer and for providing information from said data base means for display on said first output means.
3. The system as claimed in Claim 1, wherein said first output means comprises: a first portion for displaying said information pertinent to the transac- tion; and a second portion for providing said prompting instructions to the customer.
4. The system as claimed in Claim 1,wherein: said first input means comprises a keyboard for manual data entry by the customer; and said system further comprises second input means for reading encoded data from a customer-provided identification device.
5. The system as claimed in Claim 4, wherein said customer-provided identification device comprises a credit card having magnetically encoded information thereon.
6. The system as claimed in Claim 4, further comprising means for detecting an error in reading the encoded data.
7. The system as claimed in Claim 1, wherein said means for validating input data comprises means for verifying a personal identification number associated with the customer's account.
8. The system as claimed in Claim 1, wherein said means for validating comprises means for verifying an account balance in excess of the amount requested by the customer.
9. The system as claimed in Claim 2, wherein said means for creating comprises means for writing on said stock material, and said means for dispensing comprises: cutting means for said stock material, having a fixed blade and a movable blade cooperating with said fixed blade, said movable blade pivoting about a pivot point; means for advancing said stock material; and means for detecting advancement of said stock material to a predetermined location.
10. The system as claimed in Claim 9, wherein: said stock material comprises paper; said means for dispensing further comprises means for storing a paper roll in said terminal means; and said means for writing comprises printing means.
11. The system as claimed in Claim 10, wherein said stock material comprises multiple ply paper, a first ply printed upon by said printing means forming said negotiable instrument, and other plies receiving images of said negotiable instrument for providing receipts of said negotiable instrument.
12. The system as claimed in Claim 10, further comprising: a solenoid coupled to said movable blade; solenoid activating means for operating said solenoid; and crank means for coupling said solenoid to said movable blade; said solenoid activating means responding to signals from said microprocessor control means, said printing means responding to information contained in signals from said host processor means.
13. The system as claimed in Claim 12, wherein said first output means responds to said signals from said host processor means.
14. The system as claimed in Claim 10, wherein said host processor means further provides signals causing said printing means and said first output means to output information in one of a plurality of languages in accordance with information obtained from an identification device provided by the customer to said first input means.
15. The system as claimed in Claim 9, wherein said movable blade comprises first means for maintaining a minimal cutting area as said movable blade pivots about said pivot point.
16. The system as claimed in Claim 15, wherein said movable blade comprises second means for compensating for a loss of leverage as said movable blade pivots about said pivot point.
17. The system as claimed in Claim 15, wherein said movable blade has a longitudinal cutting edge, and said first means comprises a first curvature of said cutting edge, said first curvature being convex with respect to said fixed blade.
18. The system as claimed in Claim 17, wherein said second means comprises a second curvature on said cutting edge, said second curvature comprising a curve transverse to said cutting edge, said cutting edge being spaced further away from said fixed blade at points closer to said pivot point than at points further removed from said pivot point by said second curvature.
19. A method for transferring funds from a first party having an account to a second party, utilizing electronic data processing equipment comprising a microprocessor controlled terminal having a first input means for receiving input data generated by the first party, said first input means having a keyboard for manual data entry by the first party and a second input means for reading encoded data from an identification device provided by the first party, second output means for dispensing a negotiable instrument for an amount specified by the first party, data base means including therein information pertinent to an account associated with the first party, host processor means for communicating between said terminal and said data base means, means for validating input data supplied by the first party, and means for debiting the account of the first party by the specified amount, said method comprising the steps of: issuing electronically a negotiable instrument for the amount specified by the first party; debiting electronically the account of said first party; presenting said negotiable instrument to the second party; and exchanging the negotiable instrument for merchandise having a first value and for funds having a second value, said first and second values having a sum equal to the amount specified.
20. The method as claimed in Claim 19, wherein said issuing step further comprises the steps of: inserting the identification device provided by the first party into the second input means; providing input data by the first party to the first input means; validating the input data using the host processor means; debiting the account of the first party using the host processor means; printing the negotiable instrument on multiple ply paper; advancing the multiple ply paper; detecting advancement of the multiple ply paper to a predetermined location; and severing the negotiable instrument.
21. The method as claimed in Claim 20, wherein said severing step comprises the steps of: activating a solenoid; pivoting a movable blade from a rest position; and returning the movable blade to the rest position.
22. The method as claimed in Claim 20 wherein said providing and validating steps comprise the steps of: (a) inputting a secret number by the first party; (b) verifying the secret number entered by the first party against information associated with the account associated with said first party; (c) inputting the amount specified into the first input means; (d) verifying by the host proceesor means that the account contains sufficient funds to cover the amount specified; and (e) displaying to the first party any failure of the verification steps (b) and (d).
23. The method as claimed in Claim 19, wherein said issuing step further comprises the steps of: (a) detecting a code on an identification device inserted into the second input means by the first party; (b) transmitting said detected code to said host processor means; (c) selecting one of a plurality of languages by said host processor means in response to said detected code; and (d) printing said negotiable instrument in said one language in response to signals provided by said host processor means.
GB7937816A 1978-11-21 1979-11-01 Voucher printing system Withdrawn GB2035642A (en)

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FR (1) FR2442477A1 (en)
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EP0075006A1 (en) * 1981-04-02 1983-03-30 Ncr Co Check issuing terminal.
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GB2143063A (en) * 1983-07-08 1985-01-30 Colin Rogers Parameter checking apparatus
EP0151491A2 (en) * 1984-02-09 1985-08-14 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Data processing terminal device
EP0261169A1 (en) * 1986-02-26 1988-03-30 Data Card Corporation Credit card imprinter authorization terminal
EP0426432A2 (en) * 1989-10-31 1991-05-08 De La Rue Systems Limited Biometric reading assembly and method
WO1996005576A1 (en) * 1994-08-10 1996-02-22 Prima Officina Carte Valori Turati Lombardi & C.S.P.A. Credit document connected to a document or customised card, independent customised credit card and associated issuance and validation equipment
EP1038233A1 (en) * 1997-12-02 2000-09-27 Inc. Cash Technologies Multi-transactional network architecture
US7778456B2 (en) 1995-05-02 2010-08-17 Cummins-Allison, Corp. Automatic currency processing system having ticket redemption module
US7929749B1 (en) 2006-09-25 2011-04-19 Cummins-Allison Corp. System and method for saving statistical data of currency bills in a currency processing device
US7946406B2 (en) 2005-11-12 2011-05-24 Cummins-Allison Corp. Coin processing device having a moveable coin receptacle station
US7980378B2 (en) 2006-03-23 2011-07-19 Cummins-Allison Corporation Systems, apparatus, and methods for currency processing control and redemption
US8042732B2 (en) 2008-03-25 2011-10-25 Cummins-Allison Corp. Self service coin redemption card printer-dispenser
US8229821B2 (en) 1996-05-13 2012-07-24 Cummins-Allison Corp. Self-service currency exchange machine
US8393455B2 (en) 2003-03-12 2013-03-12 Cummins-Allison Corp. Coin processing device having a moveable coin receptacle station
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USRE44252E1 (en) 2002-01-10 2013-06-04 Cummins-Allison Corp. Coin redemption system
US8523641B2 (en) 2004-09-15 2013-09-03 Cummins-Allison Corp. System, method and apparatus for automatically filling a coin cassette
US8545295B2 (en) 2010-12-17 2013-10-01 Cummins-Allison Corp. Coin processing systems, methods and devices
US8559694B2 (en) 2005-10-05 2013-10-15 Cummins-Allison Corp. Currency processing system with fitness detection
US8602200B2 (en) 2005-02-10 2013-12-10 Cummins-Allison Corp. Method and apparatus for varying coin-processing machine receptacle limits
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US8684160B2 (en) 2000-04-28 2014-04-01 Cummins-Allison Corp. System and method for processing coins
US9092924B1 (en) 2012-08-31 2015-07-28 Cummins-Allison Corp. Disk-type coin processing unit with angled sorting head
US9430893B1 (en) 2014-08-06 2016-08-30 Cummins-Allison Corp. Systems, methods and devices for managing rejected coins during coin processing
US9501885B1 (en) 2014-07-09 2016-11-22 Cummins-Allison Corp. Systems, methods and devices for processing coins utilizing near-normal and high-angle of incidence lighting
US9508208B1 (en) 2014-07-25 2016-11-29 Cummins Allison Corp. Systems, methods and devices for processing coins with linear array of coin imaging sensors
US9818249B1 (en) 2002-09-04 2017-11-14 Copilot Ventures Fund Iii Llc Authentication method and system
US9875593B1 (en) 2015-08-07 2018-01-23 Cummins-Allison Corp. Systems, methods and devices for coin processing and coin recycling
US9916713B1 (en) 2014-07-09 2018-03-13 Cummins-Allison Corp. Systems, methods and devices for processing coins utilizing normal or near-normal and/or high-angle of incidence lighting
US9934640B2 (en) 2004-09-15 2018-04-03 Cummins-Allison Corp. System, method and apparatus for repurposing currency
US10089812B1 (en) 2014-11-11 2018-10-02 Cummins-Allison Corp. Systems, methods and devices for processing coins utilizing a multi-material coin sorting disk
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EP0075006A4 (en) * 1981-04-02 1986-01-07 Ncr Corp Check issuing terminal.
EP0075006A1 (en) * 1981-04-02 1983-03-30 Ncr Co Check issuing terminal.
FR2504454A1 (en) * 1981-04-24 1982-10-29 Widmer Michel Printing process for bank automaton - prints columns or lines of characters onto successive transverse strips with blank indexed linearly
WO1983001358A1 (en) * 1981-10-12 1983-04-14 WIDMER, Michel, Jean, François, Marie Method and device for the query of data files and/or banking transactions, protected from frauds by means of a communication method coded by random variable
FR2514592A1 (en) * 1981-10-12 1983-04-15 Widmer Michel Method and data files of consultation and / or banking transactions, preserves the grace fraud is a process of communication code by random variable
GB2143063A (en) * 1983-07-08 1985-01-30 Colin Rogers Parameter checking apparatus
EP0151491A3 (en) * 1984-02-09 1988-09-21 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Data processing terminal device
EP0151491A2 (en) * 1984-02-09 1985-08-14 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Data processing terminal device
EP0219879A2 (en) * 1984-02-09 1987-04-29 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba IC-card system
EP0219880A2 (en) * 1984-02-09 1987-04-29 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Data processing terminal device
EP0219879A3 (en) * 1984-02-09 1988-09-28 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Data processing terminal device
EP0219880A3 (en) * 1984-02-09 1988-09-21 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Data processing terminal device
EP0219881A3 (en) * 1984-02-09 1988-09-21 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Data processing terminal device
EP0219881A2 (en) * 1984-02-09 1987-04-29 Kabushiki Kaisha Toshiba Data processing terminal device
EP0261169A4 (en) * 1986-02-26 1988-06-27 Data Card Corp Credit card imprinter authorization terminal.
EP0261169A1 (en) * 1986-02-26 1988-03-30 Data Card Corporation Credit card imprinter authorization terminal
EP0426432A2 (en) * 1989-10-31 1991-05-08 De La Rue Systems Limited Biometric reading assembly and method
EP0426432A3 (en) * 1989-10-31 1992-04-08 De La Rue Systems Limited Biometric reading assembly and method
WO1996005576A1 (en) * 1994-08-10 1996-02-22 Prima Officina Carte Valori Turati Lombardi & C.S.P.A. Credit document connected to a document or customised card, independent customised credit card and associated issuance and validation equipment
US6010068A (en) * 1994-08-10 2000-01-04 Nadir Technology Company Limited Credit document connected to a document or customized card, independent customized credit card and associated issuance and validation equipment
US8023715B2 (en) 1995-05-02 2011-09-20 Cummins-Allison Corporation Automatic currency processing system having ticket redemption module
US7778456B2 (en) 1995-05-02 2010-08-17 Cummins-Allison, Corp. Automatic currency processing system having ticket redemption module
US8443958B2 (en) 1996-05-13 2013-05-21 Cummins-Allison Corp. Apparatus, system and method for coin exchange
US8950566B2 (en) 1996-05-13 2015-02-10 Cummins Allison Corp. Apparatus, system and method for coin exchange
US8229821B2 (en) 1996-05-13 2012-07-24 Cummins-Allison Corp. Self-service currency exchange machine
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US8701857B2 (en) 2000-02-11 2014-04-22 Cummins-Allison Corp. System and method for processing currency bills and tickets
US9129271B2 (en) 2000-02-11 2015-09-08 Cummins-Allison Corp. System and method for processing casino tickets
US8684160B2 (en) 2000-04-28 2014-04-01 Cummins-Allison Corp. System and method for processing coins
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US8602200B2 (en) 2005-02-10 2013-12-10 Cummins-Allison Corp. Method and apparatus for varying coin-processing machine receptacle limits
US8559694B2 (en) 2005-10-05 2013-10-15 Cummins-Allison Corp. Currency processing system with fitness detection
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Also Published As

Publication number Publication date
NL7908408A (en) 1980-05-23
FR2442477A1 (en) 1980-06-20
BE880187A1 (en)
BE880187A (en) 1980-05-21
DE2945328A1 (en) 1980-06-04

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