Banks and numerical literacy?

Should a bank know about digits, dollars and cents? Yes it should. Yet in this case we find that, at least those who design and proof a deposit slip, don’t really know. We may say it doesn’t really matter, but it is bothersome. It’s like one who keeps saying “massage” instead of “message”. Everybody will understand him (remember Peter Sellers?) but, with some laughs.

So here is the little gem. This is the deposit slip of a major bank. An important bank which carefully prepares its deposit slip. You would think the slips are all right.

And yet, observe.

bank deposit slip

Got it?

Count the digits of the five deposit fields: they are all five digits each (plus 2 digits for cents). This means that each can hold a number between zero and $99,999.99, which is exactly one cent less than $100,000. Now, five times $100,000 (minus 5 cents) makes 5 cents short of $500,000, which is a 6-digit number. Then, how come the TOTAL field contains 7 digits for the dollar amount (plus 2 for the cents)? No way 5 deposits of max $99,999.99 each can total up to $1,000,000.00 which is the minimum amount of dollars with 7 digits.

Should the bank know better? Sure, but who cares, we are not the 1%.

About Antonio Vantaggiato

Professor, web2.0 enthusiast, and didactic chef.
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