The Extraordinary Materials in the Seemingly Ordinary Bank Check

When it comes to the technology involved in printing checks, the finance industry has come up with so many innovations that have paved the way for more secure transactions. In the past, banks were the only sources for printing checks. Nowadays, check printing services are practically everywhere-from companies that print out checks; some charitable institutions; and, of course, the Internet.

Check printing companies offer cheaper services as compared to their bank counterparts. High rates could be easily avoided with the employment of these companies. Also, the number of days in ordering checks have been dramatically reduced which makes them a popular choice among users. More and more companies now personalize their checks and the numbers just keep growing.

Most of the companies who offer their services to print checks use special software. For individuals who want to do the printing themselves, these software programs can be easily downloaded at a certain price (others come for free but only come with basic features).

In order to come up with special printed out checks, a special paper is used by these companies. A bank check now normally utilizes the MICR or Magnetic Ink Character Recognition technology and they can only be printed on these special, safety papers. A check paper is a bonded paper that has been treated with chemicals and is primarily used in printing deposit slips, coupons, bonds, merchandise certificates, warranties, and checks.

This special type of paper is highly durable and can even be used with high-speed equipment due to its resilience to stress. Also, it has a unique security feature as it can help detect alterations on the check or even forgery. Other security features include watermarks and original document security screen; microline; warning band; and void pantographs. And for the artistic users out there, they can even choose from a variety of designs and colors.

The papers used in printing checks have to meet certain requirements before they pass the quality checks. The moisture content of these papers has to be on the range of 4-6%. In order to remain at such a range, they have to be stored in an area that is free from extreme hot or cold temperatures. Also, humidity must be avoided. Formatted checks are then printed out on blank secure safety check stock with the aid of laser printers and MICR toners.

All checks that have been printed and have conformed to these standards that were set by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors CC could then be released to their users. Such are the rigorous practices that are involved in printing checks if only to ensure security-and they’re really worth it.


How to Get the Lowest Rates on Auto Insurance

Finding affordable auto insurance need not be a headache. How to make sure you are paying the lowest premium for the coverage you need…

  • Shop around. Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars. If you’re looking for a new policy or considering switching policies, get quotes from several insurance agents and from at least one “direct writer” such as GEICO or Worldwide Insurance. This will give you a good idea of the range of costs in your area.

Caution: Don’t simply look for the best prices. The insurer you select should also offer excellent service. Ask friends and business associates whether their insurers pay claims quickly, and for the ones with which they’ve had a bad experience.

Once you’ve narrowed the list, check the financial stability of the insurers you’re considering in such as A.M. Best, Standard and Poor’s and back issues of Consumer Reports..

  • Take the highest deductible you can afford. Ultimately it saves money on your premium. That’s because the higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium. Since the odds of your having an accident are slim, your annual savings will be considerable. Prudent: Invest some of this savings in a fund for use in case you get into an accident and have to meet the high deductible.
  • Buy a low profile car. Your rates will be higher if your car is flashy and therefore more likely to attract thieves. When buying a new car, find out which models are the most and least frequently stolen
  • Buy a safe car. Cars that best withstand crashes and are least expensive to repair qualify for discounted rates, while cars that are costly to fix or easily damaged are charged higher premiums.

Safest: Large, four-door models, station wagons, passenger vans etc. The Highway Loss Data Institute also issues information on injury and collision rates by automobile make and model.

  • Buy a good used car. New cars lose much of their value the moment they are driven off the lot, which means the amount you can recoup if the car is totaled is immediately less than the amount you paid for it. A good-quality used car may be worth less than a new one, but it costs less to insure.
  • Drop collision or comprehensive coverage on older vehicles.. Collision coverage is limited to value of your car at the time of an accident. Comprehensive coverage reimburse you for the value of possessions in the car, if it is stolen or damaged by a calamity other than an accident – earthquake, flood, etc.

These two types of coverage can account for as much as 45% of your total premium..

  • Eliminate duplicate medical coverage,. In some states the medical section of auto-insurance polices covering hospital and doctor expenses if you or your family is injured in an auto accident is optional. You should opt out if the insurance duplicates coverage already provided in your standard health insurance policy.
  • Take advantage of special programs. If you are older than age 50. Several companies offer low-cost insurance coverage. Several states have companies that accept customers who fit low-risk profiles.

If you are considering moving. Check rates in the surrounding area. Auto-insurance rates vary not only state to state but by city – and neighborhood. If you live in a low-crime area or in an area in which few accidents have occurred, your rates will be lower than most.


Cheap Auto Insurance: How To Get The Best Deal Possible

Insuring your vehicle is a serious matter, not just because the law states that it must be done but because the extent of the coverage secured is important if the best protection is to be secured. Unlike other financial matters, cheap auto insurance is not just about how much is paid but the quality of the coverage bought too.

It is always worth spending time searching on the Internet as it is really the only way of securing low insurance premiums with the right degree of protection too. For many people, the cheapest premiums effectively cost much more because certain types of coverage are removed to lower the price.

So how can a top quality auto insurance policy be secured without costing the earth? What are the priorities that everyone should have when searching for a policy? And what provisions should be included in the policy?

What Coverage Should Your Policy Have

Probably the trickiest part of getting effective cheap auto insurance is to identify what types of coverage are really necessary. Insurance brokers offer a wide selection of choices, many of which are not actually needed. But which ones can be excluded from a policy, and which ones are essential?

While fire and theft, and collision coverage are all standard, it is a good idea to consider what other elements are actually needed and if rejecting them will result in securing a low insurance premium. For example, Uninsured Motorist Coverage covers the driver and all passengers for injuries sustained I an accident on the condition that accident responsibility rests on the other driver.

Other such aspects that may not be needed are Roadside Assistance (especially if your vehicle is new), or Accident Forgiveness, which protects your premium even after a claim. Experienced drivers with an excellent record may not need this extra expense on their auto insurance.

Extra Provisions To Consider

Of course, all of the extra provisions on a policy can be useful, but when trying to ensure a cheap auto insurance policy it is necessary to weed out what is not needed. So, what are the additional provisions that might be worth keeping?

Collision Coverage entitles the driver to a claim even when the accident is their fault. This can be useful because it can be very costly to pay for an accident alone. Bear in mind, however, that this coverage requires some careful budgeting to ensure adequate funds are available.

Securing low insurance premiums can also be done by clumping elements together. For example Comprehensive Coverage means that damage to your vehicle due to a variety of reasons – storm vandalism, fire etc – other than a collision is covered too. The auto insurance policy is general but it covers almost every eventuality.

Choosing The Right Insurance Provider

Looking at the specifics of a cheap auto insurance policy is perfectly fine, but it is essential that the right insurance provider is found too. Often, the two go hand-in-hand, but at times the reputation of the independent insurance provider might not be too good.

So, before deciding on a policy, make a shortlist of companies that meet your needs, and check their reputation on the Department of Insurance website. Policies from those companies that satisfy your standard can then be examined more closely.

Of course, securing low insurance premiums starts with seeking an official quote from the company, so contact them directly. Then, the policies and quotes can be compared, until the best auto insurance policy is identified. Once this is done, your vehicle can be covered effectively and affordably.


Getting Your Investment Feet Wet

In order to get started investing you just need some willingness to learn and apply sound, proven to work principles. You can get started immediately without having much investment wisdom at all about the stock market or other investment instruments. When you begin investing you should be a conservative-moderate investor with a relatively low risk tolerance. This way you will have a way to grow your money with little risk, while you learn more about investing. However, a general rule of thumb in long-term investing is that the younger you are, the more risk you should take and aggressive you should be. However, this considers that you have performed your due diligence, have learned enough about all of your options, and properly assessed your investor profile.

One very easy first investment you can make would be an interest bearing savings account, chances are good you already have one. If you do not have one of these accounts you should; they can be opened with usually only $100, sometimes even less. A savings account can be opened at the same bank that you do your checking at, or at any other bank. One good idea may be to open this interest bearing savings account with an on-line bank that has no physical location near you, this way it forces you to keep the money in the account longer and make less frequent withdrawals. One of these types of interest bearing savings accounts should yield 2 – 4%.

Another good option you have when starting investing is to invest in money market funds. Money market investments can be made through nearly any bank. These funds have higher interest payouts than typical savings accounts, and they work much the same way. Money market accounts are also short to medium-term investments, because of this your money will not be tied up for a long period of time and still appreciate in value.

Certificates of Deposit are also investments with very little to no risk. Interest rates on C.D.’s are normally higher than those of savings accounts or Money Market Funds. You have the option to select the duration of your C.D. with interest paid regularly until the maturity (duration end) date. Another pro about C.D.’s is that they are insured by the bank and governmental agencies.

Other options for you to choose when first starting investing are treasury securities (low risk), bonds (low to medium risk), mutual funds (low to high risk), and exchange traded funds (low to high risk). However these options require more due diligence than those mentioned in the previous paragraphs, and the latter of these options (mutual funds, ETF’s) generally have more risk as they are related to stocks.

When just starting out, any one of these options above are great beginning points for delving into investing. All of these options will allow your capital to grow for you while you learn more about investing in other, higher yielding (higher risk typically) investment opportunities.

*Note: An excellent resource for checking saving account yield rates is