How Technology Affects Our Money

December 22nd, 2008

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money technologyToday’s modern technology offers us a multitude of money management methods. We are constantly offered easier ways to pay at stores and while not as numerous, several options are available with regards to how we receive our money. We’ve always been able to pay with cash and checks as well as several forms of plastic including credit and debit cards. But today, new technologies are available that make paying even easier.

Imagine being able to pay for goods and services with just the touch of your finger! A company called “Pay By Touch” has developed a scanner that is currently being used in hundreds of supermarkets throughout the country. Customers do not have to carry credit cards, cash, or checks with them because they are conveniently able to go through the check-out line, scan their finger print, enter a phone number and select a bank account or credit card to pay for their groceries with. Customers do have to complete a short enrollment process prior to being able to utilize the program. Upon enrolling, their unique fingerprint is scanned, and an encryption program converts it into forty unique points and keeps the information confidential. When the customer touches the special scanner, the forty points are recognized and the transaction can take place easily and quickly.

Another new “contactless” technology called “Blink” makes it possible for customers to simply wave a card within four inches of a reader and within a second or two, receive a tone or a beep when their payment is complete. Nothing exchanges hands with anyone and no signatures or pin codes are necessary. The technology works by a Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) tag inside of the card. The tag contains information about its owner including account numbers and balances so that it can charge the correct account, similar to the way a debit card works. The cards contain the same security levels as a regular credit or debit card and special coding is used to scramble the customer’s information so it cannot be stolen. This new technology makes paying faster and easier by an estimated 53% in comparison to swiping a credit card and 63% faster than paying with cash. It has become popular with convenience stores and quick-serve restaurants as these stores aim to get customers in and out as quickly as possible.

Another way technology is affecting how we handle our money is in the ways in which we are paid. Today, most employers offer at least two forms of payment: Check or Direct Deposit. Another new technology gives yet a new option for payrolling employees, this is especially important in a nation where 12 to 15 million individuals still don’t have a bank account. Typically, employees who do not have a bank account are forced to go to a supermarket or check-cashing store to receive their pay. These stores usually charge a convenience fee for their services. In the 1990s however, Payroll Cards were invented. Similar in looks to a regular debit or credit card, these cards allow employers to send electronic signals to the cards which represent the amount of money the employee is supposed to receive. The card then works as a “pre-paid debit card”. Utilizing these cards are cheaper that issuing paper checks. It is also safer than a paper check because they are less likely to be lost or stolen and are easily replaced in the event of either of these options. In addition, employers are able to save money because they don’t have to pay for postage or other expenses associated with mailing paper checks to their employees.  

What Happens to Defaced Currency?

December 21st, 2008

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defaced currencyIt is illegal to purposely deface, mutilate, impair, diminish, falsify, scales or lightens any coins minted or “coined” in the United States of America. However, the U.S. government will replace worn out or damaged money if three-fifths of it is still identifiable. Two-fifths will earn the bearer half the face value; less than that gets nothing. Every year, the U.S. Treasury handles over 30,000 claims of destroyed or badly damaged currency. But what happens to money that becomes unrecognizable or “mutilated” through unintentional means?

There are numerous ways that currency can become “mutilated”. The most common causes are fire, water, chemicals, explosives, animal, insect, or rodent damage, and deterioration from burying paper currency. If more than half of the money is identifiable and evidence relating to what happened to the remainder of the money indicates that it was completely destroyed, it is possible for money to be replaced however, special steps must be taken to ensure the authenticity of the currency and the condition of the remaining portions of the paper bills. Special experts are employed by the Treasury Department to examine mutilated currency. These individuals carefully investigate all mutilated money received and are responsible for okaying the writing of a Treasury check for the value of the currency as they determine to be redeemable.

It is important to note that paper money can become badly soiled, defaced, disintegrated, worn, and torn through the ordinary exchange of hands. If more than half of the original note is left and special examination of the note is not required, the money is not considered mutilated. These funds can be taken directly to a bank and exchanged for a replacement. The money is then sent to the Federal Reserve Bank to be exchanged for new bills. The serial numbers of the worn-out money are recorded and then the bills are destroyed. Damaged coins are returned to the Treasury for re-minting, meaning they melt them down to make new coins.  Mutilated currency however needs to be mailed or delivered to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., with a letter indicating the estimated value of the currency and an explanation of how the currency became mutilated. Special care should be taken to ensure that the bills are left in the same condition they were in when found.

While it is comforting to know that there are measures in place to protect currency from losing it’s value through unintentional mutilation or defacement, one should take every precaution possible to protect our currency. After all, as taxpayers, we do pay for the minting and printing of all currency and coinage in the United States. Try to keep money safe by avoiding letting your wallet run through the washing machine, or leaving money lying around where it can be damaged. Also, please don’t write on bills ad this may cause them not to work in vending machines or not to be accepted meaning they will need to be replaced sooner than ordinary.

Thrifty or “Green”?

December 21st, 2008

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greenFirst of all, I must confess. I try my best to save a dollar wherever I can. I clip coupons every Sunday. Shop when my local grocer offers double and triple coupons, try to eat out less, but the generic peanut butter, and lower my thermostat by a few degrees to save costs on heating. But has anyone other than me noticed lately how all of a sudden being cheap thrifty, can become trendy, if we call it “going green”?  I mean, have you heard some of the latest trends? Dumpster diving? You’ve got to be kidding me right? Thrift Stores are no back in style? Reusing another person’s trash has become a phenomenal feat because there’s less waste in the landfill.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against doing what’s good for the planet. I recycle my cans, my paper, my plastic and basically anything that my local municipality allows. I even have my own garden to grow vegetables free of pesticides. I switched my lightbulbs out for ones that supposedly use less energy and I’ve even stopped using the plastic bags at the grocery store when it’s not necessary. And while I accept that the days of just throwing everything away to end up in a landfill are over, I cannot help but wonder why there are those among us who seem to be taking this whole “green” thing to the extreme. However, it’s illegal to be caught digging through a dumpster. Besides, who knows what you could stumble upon in one of those smelly things!

This brings me to my next thought, is it possible that times have gotten so bad in the midst of our economy that ordinary working folks are actually being forced to search for items in the dumpster in order to make ends meet? I don’t want to seem insensitive as I know there are many Americans among us who have been forced out of their jobs through lay-offs and cutbacks and I sincerely offer them my condolences to them. I know that there are many others who have lost their homes due to foreclosure and again, I sympathize with this awful situation. Yet I cannot understand what motives other than sheer desperation would force someone who has a seemingly ordinary life with a job and a home and a family to search for their next meal in a dumpster.  Again, I don’t mean to sound insensitive as I know there are those who cannot afford to put food on the table and warm clothes on the backs of their family, but from the stories I’ve read online, many Americans are turning by night into dumpster diving savages! When asked why, they say they’re doing our planet a favor and keeping “perfectly good items” out of the landfill.

So my question to readers is: what’s driving perfectly sane people to jump inside of dumpsters? Is it really because they feel that their doing so is going to make the planet better for our children? Or is there another motive below the surface? Perhaps it curiosity of the unknown and bringing out their inner treasure-hunter. I’m eager to hear your thoughts. 

Last Minute Christmas Gifts on a Budget

December 21st, 2008

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money christmas treeTime is running short…only a few days left until Christmas. While many are rushing from store to store picking up last minute gifts, others are worried how they can afford to make their dollar stretch as far as possible on gifts this year. If you’re still trying to decide what to give someone in your life, here’s a few last minute, dollar-stretching ideas:

Always a good idea for everyone a gift of food offers endless possibilities. Candy and cookies, breads, sweet breads, muffins, an entire meal or even a mix; taking the time to prepare  something with your hands in thought of someone will show them just how much they mean to you. One of my favorite quick and easy gifts is taking a package of Oreo cookies and dipping them in white and milk chocolate separately. Then you can dip them in sprinkles or coconut or other toppings or just set them on wax paper to dry. Whatever tickles your fancy, your friends and family are sure to love this special treat. Another favorite food gift of mine, is my tradition of cooking an entire meal for my family during the holiday season … it frees up time for them, and it’s fun to get together and talk and relive memories we all share together.

Another great gift idea at the holidays is pictures. Pictures give us memories of special times in our lives. There’s no better gift than a memory to bring a smile to a loved one’s face. Frame a picture of yourself, your family or just your children. Give friends pictures of special moments shared between you. Everyone loves a great photo. Frames can range from exquisite to simple depending on tastes, but regardless the true gift is in the memories shared.

Homemade coupons make a great gift and don’t cost a lot at all. Remember as a child the coupons to Mom for a Hug and a kiss? Updated versions of those coupons can be just as fun…and special for the recipient. Try giving someone a coupon for a home-cooked meal on a busy night or a day spent together watching movies at home. Sometimes simple things go further than anything you can spend money on.

Try visiting stores that might be going out of business in your area to score extra savings on great gifts for those in your life. Many stores are having sales right now as they try to eliminate their inventory, many with discounts up to 70 and 90% off. You’re sure to find something for someone on your list and the savings will be great!

Finally, how about a donation on behalf of someone you know. What a great way to do something good for others and still give gifts that is meaningful for someone on your list. Think of causes that might be special to the person you’re giving on behalf of and look for local charities to donate to on their behalf.

In conclusion, there are lots of great, inexpensive last-minute gift ideas. It just involves getting a little creative and thinking outside the box. Good luck and have a great holiday!

Has Las Vegas Luck Run Out?

December 21st, 2008

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dollar vegasThe current global recession is affecting cities across the globe. With the holidays fast approaching, many thoughts ordinarily turn to travel. But on the brink of a global recession, many families are staying put and avoiding costs wherever possible. No stranger to holiday travel, the thought of spending the holidays at home just didn’t seem right to me. Several months ago, I found a great deal on airfare and now I plan to embark upon a trip to the once a recession-proof oasis of Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s right, Sin City! But it seems that even Vegas can’t seem to escape this recession.

Over the years, Las Vegas has grown as speeds so fast that even frequent visitors had trouble keeping up with the growth. Conventions and the entertainment industry have made this desert oasis and beacon for global tourism. In fact, since the 1970s, Las Vegas has remained recession proof. Yet one question, remains on the minds of most Las Vegas Loyalists, “how will this recession affect Sin City”?

Veteran Vegas travelers, my spouse and I are no strangers to the Las Vegas Lights. This trip however, we expect to be a little different. Not only did we receive drastic discounts on airfare and hotel rooms, we’re still plan to make changes on our own in order to protect our nest egg. We’re packing a little lighter to avoid airline luggage fees and leaving more cash at home than we ordinarily would. We were able to score a great room at the Bellagio with a view of the fountains for less than we paid for a room at the same hotel without the view of the fountains back in August. However, one thing I’m quite confident of, the slot machines and the lights will still be on the gambling capital of the world when we arrive this week.  We’ve already purchased tickets to see two well-known shows on the strip and there were no discounts available on those.

In a city where money will get you whatever your heart desires, it’s difficult to imagine Las Vegas not incurring some sort of substantial slow-down in the days and months to come. With tourism as the nearly sole industry in this desert city, Las Vegas is known for its growth and expansion. Already, over 20,000 construction jobs have dried up in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has launched a new $12 million three-month national campaign in order to attempt to entice conventions to Las Vegas and the dollars spent within them. The city’s convention business has been slipping in recent months as several annual conventions have seen fewer attendees and shorter stays among those that are attending.

So how will our upcoming trip to Las Vegas fair in the midst of a recession? Only time will tell. There’s still a lot to do in Vegas that doesn’t involve gambling. You can bet that we will take advantage of the “Duece’s” public transit line offering $5 bus fare all the way down the strip and onto Freemont Street. We’ll take in our shows, gawk at the Bellagio fountain and enjoy the free laser-light display on Freemont over three blocks of roof covering the street.

How to find your own hidden money?

December 16th, 2008

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hidden moneyDid you ever think that you might be able to find hidden money right under your own nose? What would you do with an extra $1,000-$1,500 per year?

America is all about convenience, but how much is “convenience” costing you? Little indulgences you enjoy on a daily basis might be putting a bigger strain than you realize on your wallet.  Here’s how to add an easy $1,000 to your bank account:

Skip the Starbucks: (okay, you can still have it on special occasions) But seriously, coffee you make yourself is nearly free in comparison to the high priced lattes. Skipping the expensive name even just one time a week can put an extra $200 per year right in your pocket!

Eat out less: I know it’s cliché, but the truth is, spending $5 a day on lunch at McDonalds really adds up. By bringing your lunch, it’s possible to eat for around $1.00 a day. If you work 200 days per year, this results in a savings of $600 per year right into your wallet! Not to mention the added health benefits by skipping the fattening fast foods!

No more bottled water: Not only is it bad for the environment, bottled waters costs $1 a pop or more. By installing a filter for your tap, you can save over $200 per year!

Get a library card: A new novel costs around $30 in the bookstore and can be bought in a used bookstore for $5 to $10. If you read a couple books a month, go to the library and check them out for free. Total savings of $500 per year or more!

Drink wine at home instead of the restaurant: You can usually buy the same bottle of wine for what restaurants/bars charge for the glass. Enjoy it in the comfort of your own home with friends and family and save big!

Clip Coupons: Coupons are easy to clip and many people are able to save big bucks by strategically using coupons for things they already buy. While savings will vary by the time you invest, simple changes like shopping on days when your local grocery store offers double and triple coupons can mean big bucks back in your pocket.

Save on Dry Cleaning: While some articles of clothing must be dry cleaned, the truth is, not everything has to be. Use your good judgment to determine what can really be washed at home. Another option is to wear things more than once before having them cleaned. Many people who work in an office don’t dirty clothing with just one wear. If a clothing article isn’t really dirty, why have it laundered at the price of several dollars per item?

There are many other ways to take a look at little indulgences that really aren’t necessary. Take a look at your weekly spending to determine what unnecessary spending you can cut back by keeping a log of all your expenses for at least one week and then evaluating what you really need versus what is a nice to have. You can thank yourself for your “sacrifices” by rewarding yourself in a year with a fantastic vacation or a great pair of shoes fully paid for by your savings!! 

Dollar Bill versus Dollar Coin

December 16th, 2008

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dollar bill versus dollar coinThe United States Mint has made several attempts to introduce a coin which would replace the dollar bill. Each time, the end result has been mass production of coins which end up stored in vaults due to lack of demand. Many other countries, including Australia and our neighbor Canada, have replaced their “dollar bill” with a coin version. So why do Americans prefer the bill over the coin so much?

The U.S. Mint pumps out 3.4 billion fresh single dollar bills each year. The truth is, dollar bills wear out in about 18 months while the coins last approximately 30 years. While each coin is more expensive to produce than a bill, the difference in time spent in circulation would mean the overall cost of having a dollar coin instead of a bill over time would be much lower. With this huge of a difference, wouldn’t it be more economical as a nation to utilize the coins? In 2002, the Government Accountability Office stated that our nation could save $500 million a year in production costs if we switched to coins instead of bills. Given the fact that taxpayers could save several hundred million dollars per year just by implementing the dollar coin and phasing out the dollar bill, wouldn’t the appeal to everyone? So just exactly how much is it worth to be able to have a dollar bill instead of a dollar coin?

The many advantages of a dollar coin are not only from a tax savings perspective. Vending machines would be more accessible as individuals are more likely to put coins in a machine instead of dig out a dollar bill. Coins are better for the environment than bills. Less paper is used to print them, the last longer than bills, and less energy is spent producing them. Coins are also easier than bills to count than bills since they don’t stick together and they can be weighed, whereas the bill cannot. Coins are also healthier than bills. Since they aren’t fibrous like the bill, they don’t absorb as many germs or dirt. Coins are washable by simply running under soap and water, but bills are much more difficult to clean without risking damage to the bill.

Current complaints regarding the dollar coin are that it is too close in size to a quarter. People also do not like the added weight in their pockets compared to a dollar bill. Since paper money can be folded and shaped to fit nearly anywhere, it is easier to carry than the coin. Other disadvantages would include the upgrades required to implement the new coins.  Many cash registers and the aforementioned vending mentions would all require equipment upgrades in order to be able to accept the new dollar coin. Counterfeiting is much easier to regulate with bills than coins since new technology allows for special inks, watermarks, and paper. Coins are much easier to counterfeit, therefore, perhaps a savings in created in the form of economic stability.

All in all, there are both advantages and disadvantages to each form of money. However, given our nation’s current financial struggles, the American people may begin to push for every dollar savings they can which could result in a look at the bottom line. In addition, as the “Green Initiative” spreads, the idea of the coin may go further from an environmental perspective. Yet, the fact remains, many attempts have been made to implement a dollar coin into circulation without success. Americans are just hesitant to adopt this new standard and it could remain a difficult sell. Only time will tell what the future of our money looks like. 

United States Secret Service’s Role in Currency Counterfeit Prevention

December 15th, 2008

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US Secret ServiceMost ordinary U.S. citizens might not associate the Secret Service with our Nation’s currency. In fact, perhaps one of the best known services of the United States Secret Service is protecting our nation’s leaders, especially the President. However, the Secret Service plays a vital role in protecting our currency and in turn, our economy. Currently a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service is responsible for two very distinct areas of responsibility. First, and notably the most well-known, Secret Service Agents serve in protective roles as to preserve the safely of our nation’s leaders and their families. Second, and less publically noted, the Secret Service is responsible for the prevention and investigation of crimes involving US currency and treasury bonds.

In 1865, the U.S. Secret Service was first established for the specific purpose of combating the counterfeiting of money.  At the time, it was reported that one-third to one-half of all the currency in circulation in the U.S. was counterfeit. In fact, in the midst of the Civil War, with somewhere around 7,000 different bills in circulation, it became almost impossible to detect a counterfeit bill from a legitimate one. Therefore, the United States Secret Service was born in order to prevent any further damage to the nation’s struggling economy.  

In 1967, the agency took on additional responsibilities which included investigating those suspected of perpetrating frauds against the government and also served other role of investigating a broad range of crime areas including everything from robberies, murders, the Ku Klux Klan, non-conforming distillers, land fraud, smugglers all the way to illegal gambling.  

Today, the Secret Service is now a division of the Department of Homeland of Security and although the roles assumed by the Secret Service in its early days have since been passed on to other agencies including the FBI, ATS, and IRS, the Secret Service retains primary jurisdiction over all areas of counterfeit U.S. currency and treasury notes as well as its special duty of protecting the president, first lady, and other U.S. dignitaries. The agency also tracks suspicious individuals and steps in to access local crimes when necessary.

One of the oldest crimes in our nation’s history is counterfeit money. Although today’s money has many more preventative measures in place to protect our currency, counterfeiting remains a very real danger for our nation’s economy. In fact, due to modern technologies available to thieves, such as photographic and printing equipment, it has become easier and easier for thieves to commit counterfeiting fraud, therefore, requiring the Secret Service in combination with the U.S. Mint to enact more and more security features into our nation’s currency.

Due to the nature of its role, many details surrounding the Secret Service are kept “secret”. Many of the agents’ identities are kept confidential for their own protection as well as the protection of their job duties. In fact, even the wives and families of some secret service agents do not know their husbands and fathers as Secret Service Agents. Whereas, many agencies require uniforms of their agents, the Secret Service uniforms are designed to blend in with the role they are performing and can range from tuxedos to business suits to jeans.

In conclusion, the United States Secret Service plays a crucial role in the safety of our nation. It protects some of the most important persons in our nation all the way from the President and First Family, to other political figures and embassies. However, its role in protecting our currency is perhaps as crucial to our economy as any other role assumed by the agency. 

A Backyard Full of CASH???

December 14th, 2008

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dollar cash goldAs we enter into what is expected to be one of the largest recessions in our nation’s history, individuals throughout the United States are faced with the question: “what should I do with my money”? During the Great Depression, many individuals hid cans of coins in their backyards due to their mistrust of the banking institutions. More and more individuals have lost confidence in our current banking system and have begun to question the safety of one of their most safely guarded possessions: money. But what is the best way to protect one’s cash?

Over the years, we’ve all heard of random places to hide money: under the bed, in the freezer, buried in the backyard, in the Bible but where is the best place to put it? My grandmother hid cash for years in the back of her closet between some old quilts that were never used. No one knew about this until after the passed. My husband’s grand-father hid his money throughout his home. He told his widow from his deathbed to throw nothing away in that house without fully going through it. Still to the day, she’ll be going through some old book or other item and stumble upon a $100 bill. Perhaps this was his way of always making sure she was taken care of, but more than likely; he felt it was safer than putting his money in a bank. A close family friend is said to have “millions” of dollars buried in his backyard under a fig tree and while I don’t know if it’s true or not, it does make for a good legend. I’ve often wondered if upon his death, anyone will visit his backyard with a shovel to look for buried treasure!

Of course, burying cash in the backyard is nothing new. During the Great Depression Era, it was common for folks to make “treasure maps” and place their valuables in the ground in coffee cans or old metal boxes. Today a “Ziploc” brand bag, placed in a piece of PVC pipe is a common way to bury cash five feet into the ground. In fact, there’s even an “invention” floating around on eBay called the “Midnight Gardner”. The device is actually a simple twelve by four inch capped, watertight PVC pipe which is said to hold as much as $4,000 in gold, silver, or cash.

Is it a good idea to bury cash? Some say it’s not as the paper money will lose value due to inflation. These individuals recommend investing in gold bullion and burying that as it will hold it value better than cash. There are those that say if the economy got to the point that money invested in banks was gone, that paper money would hold no value either. Others still insist that burying money/gold/etc is a bad idea because it can be easily forgotten or lost. Then, there are those that say that any attempt at “playing it safe” and pulling money out of the economy only worsens the effect of the recession.

In the end, I’m of the opinion that what to do with money is a personal decision and should be made by each individual with regards to what they feel is the safest route for them. As for me, I’ve got a personal stock of cash that I’m seeking a place to hide away for a “rainy day”.

The United States Twenty Dollar Bill

December 5th, 2008

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twenty dollar billDid you know that the highest denomination of bank note most frequently used by Americans on an everyday basis is the the United States twenty dollar bill? It is indeed, and this is largely because the twenty dollar bill is arguably the only banknote dispensed by the Banking Auto Teller Machines, or ATM, in the United States. This is probably because it would cost the banks more money to modify these machines to become compatible in dispensing other type of bills. The United States twenty dollar bill is also the most used denomination for withdrawals and cashing in checks.

According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the average life span of a twenty dollar bill in circulation is twenty-five months or two years, before it succumbs to wear and tear and needs to be disposed and replaced. It is also said that twenty dollar bills are just a little over one-fifth of all United States paper currency produced today. These bills are delivered in violet straps by the Federal Reserve Banks for dissemination into public circulation.

The portrait of the seventh United States President, Andrew Jackson, is depicted on the obverse side of the bill, although his actions towards the Native Americans during his tenure leaves a lot to be questioned on the suitability of his representation of the twenty dollar bill. This also fuelled one of the bill’s many alternate monikers,  the ‘Jackson’. The twenty dollar bill is also known as a ‘double sawbuck’, a ‘twenty banger’, and a ‘twomp’. Apart from President Jackson, other famous historical figures, from Presidents to Statesmen, and even American businessmen, that have graced the twenty dollar bills are Alexander Hamilton, Stephen Decatur, James Garfield, Daniel Manning, John Marshall, Hugh McCulloch, George Washington, and Grover Cleveland. President Andrew Jackson became the permanent fixture on the twenty dollar bill from the year 1928 onwards. The visual rendering of the White House is also featured on the reverse side of the bill.

First appearing as a demand note, the twenty made its debut in 1861, and it subsequently evolved with the many classifications and categorizations of the United States currency system, from United States note, national bank note , gold certificate, silver certificate, treasury coin note, and to the current Federal Reserve bank note it is today.

The current series of twenty dollar bills we see today was released on October 9, 2003, and it comes with a light background shading of green and yellow. The oval border previously surrounding Andrew Jackson’s portrait was not included in the new design, with background images of eagles and such added in. The oval border was also omitted out on the riverside side of the bill where the White House is now featured. Scattered all around the reverse side of the bill are also a lot of small and faded numerals of twenties, and this design is formed in the EURion constellation, a pattern of symbols found on new banknote designs since 1996. The pattern is said to be instrumental in preventing counterfeiters using color photocopiers to forge dollar bills. 

What Is A Dollar Bill Made Of ?

December 1st, 2008

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dollar made ofEver wondered what your dollar bill is made of? Do you know why money doesn’t disintegrate when left in the washing machine? That’s because paper money is more cloth than it is paper! In fact there is no paper at all, or even wood, used in any of our dollar bills. Paper money is made out of rags of paper, also known as heavy paper. These rags are cotton and linen fabrics beaten together to create cotton and linen fibers, making it really sturdy and durable.  

These rag fibers bond together more strongly than that of the fibers found on normal paper. Note that normal paper is made out of selected cellulose fiber which comes from trees, and these cellulose based paper absorbs water immediately and falls apart when so, as opposed to rags made out of cotton and linen fibers which molecule structures don’t break down easy. These rag fibers are fundamentally unaffected by water, its composition is so strong that it remains unaltered upon immersion in water or most liquids. The concoction of materials used is also much more resilient than normal paper, it resists wear and tear, and also does not contain the usual agents that makes ordinary paper glow slightly under an ultraviolet light. Paper money or banknote paper is also sometimes impregnated with polyvinyl alcohol or gelatin to give it that extra strength and durability.

Paper money is basically composed of 25 percent linen fibers and 75 percent cotton fibers, and red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths are distributed evenly and consistently throughout the paper like material. It is said that prior to World War I, these fibers were made out of silk, but the practice was quickly discontinued because it wasn’t cost effective and practical.

Most banknotes these days are made using the mould method in which a watermark and thread is incorporated during the material forming process, mainly to thwart currency counterfeiters. To keep up and stay ahead of currency forgers, paper money today has also become so high-tech, and the newer designs include state-of-the-art technology like Cornerstone, Platinum and Optiks, all of which increases the strength and security of paper money.

Manufacturers of banknote paper were also swift to recognize the problems associated with dirt and they developed a special paper with a thin layer of varnish on the surface to repel them. Recently, the composition of materials used in producing paper money has also changed dramatically with the introduction of synthetic technology, which comprises an impenetrable network inside the cotton fiber structure, supporting the banknote and intensifying its mechanical stability, Newer products like Synthec and Diamone Composite has also responded to this call and the growing demand for higher mechanical stability of the paper, making paper money more resistant to wear and tear. Consisting of 80 percent cotton fiber and 20 percent synthetic fiber, Synthec based paper money lasts longer and is more flexible. Some countries around the world have also adopted polymer, which is basically soft plastic, to replace the traditional cotton and linen composites. 

More On The United States $1 Bill

November 26th, 2008

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Like the rest of the United States currencies, the one dollar bill is composed of 25 percent linen and 75 dollar billspercent cotton, with red and blue synthetic fibers distributed throughout the paper. The notes weigh one gram each and are 2.61 inches in width and 6.14 inches in length, with a thickness of .0043 inches. The United States one dollar bill is worth one hundred United States cents.

The United States government spends 4.2 cents to produce a single dollar bill and dollar bills are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, also known as the BEP. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces well over than sixteen and a half million one dollar bills every day, and most of these notes are used to replace older and worn out dollar bills which are no longer deemed fit for circulation. The average dollar bill has a life span of about eighteen to twenty-two months, depending on frequency of usage, and wear and tear. The United States Treasury estimates that there are billions and billions of one dollar bills which are circulating the globe to date.

The first one dollar bill was issued as a Legal Tender Note back in the year 1862. These early one dollar bills featured the portrait of Salmon P. Chase, who was the Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln. Only until the year 1869, was the portrait of George Washington used on the one dollar bill, and this remains the case until today. A vignette of Christopher Columbus sighting land was also featured to the left of the note during this time.

In 1886, the picture of Martha Washington, who was also the original first lady and wife of George Washington, was featured on the one dollar silver certificate, making her the first women ever to appear on any United States currency. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S Grant are also amongst the few to have been featured on the United States one dollar bill, although this depictions dates to 1899. The designs on the one dollar united states note and silver certificates were more streamlined and standardized beginning 1923, with minor exceptions such as color and ink.

In the year 1929, all United States currency changed to the standard and current size we now see, although various designs and depictions continued to be featured throughout the years after. In the 1957, the one dollar bill became the first piece of United States currency to bear the legendary motto ‘In God We Trust’. The current design of the one dollar bill was finalized in 1969 and has remained the same ever since, and no plans to redesign the one dollar bill has been proposed to date, even though higher denominations from five dollars onward have been redesigned to curb counterfeiting.

The United States one dollar bill is also the most experimented and tested bill in the nation’s history. In 1933, a test was conducted to determine the different ratios of cotton and linen used in the paper of dollar bills. Another well-known test was done in 1942 during World War Two to test alternative types of paper that paper currency can be issued in. This was a precautionary measure in case the current type of paper supply ran out. In 1992, the one dollar bill was again put under the microscope when the Bureau of Engraving and Printing began testing a web-fed press, to facilitate the production and issuance of more dollar bills.

Designs On The $1 Bill

November 26th, 2008

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It is said that 45 percent of all United States currency produced today consists of the one dollar bill, whichone dollar bill would make it the most seen and used of all denomination of US currency. The one dollar bill also brags having the second oldest design of all US paper money, largely because of its obverse design which was adapted in 1963, which is also the year that the one dollar bill was inducted into the Federal Reserve Note status.

The visual rendering of George Washington, the first President of the United States is fittingly featured on the obverse side of the one dollar bill, and has been so since 1869. The Federal Reserve District Seal is placed to the left of George Washington as well as the name of the Federal Reserve Banks that issued the note.

To the left of George Washington is the Federal Reserve District Seal. The name of the Federal Reserve Bank that issued the note surrounds a capital letter between A and L, to identify which of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks it was issued from. The sequential numbers of the these banks are also displayed over the open spaces on the four corners of the dollar bill. The Treasury Department Seal is placed to the right of George Washington and the balancing stars represents justice for all. The chevron of stars signifies the original colonies and the key below it stands for authority and trust. The year 1789 printed on the seal represents the year the Department of Treasury was established.

Below the Federal Reserve District seal, and to the left of George Washington, is the signature of the Treasurer of the United States. This will vary from time to time depending on the terms being served by the official, and the Secretary of the treasury’s signature is placed on the right side of the seal. The series and the year that the dollar bill was printed will be shown to the left of this Secretary’s signature and the number one (1) on the edges of the bill is entwined with olive branches.

The reverse side of the one dollar bill has a design infusing the Great Seal of the United States and various other symbols which purposes have been debated by historians and controversy enthusiasts alike. An unfinished pyramid is placed to the left of this seal and the separated top of the pyramid portrays the all-seeing eye. The shadow cast by the pyramid from the rising sun is said to symbolize the undiscovered lands to the west of the nation and the rising sun is said to symbolize the beginning of a new and powerful country. The Latin phrase Annuit Cœptis which means that God has favored the undertakings of the nation is also located above the pyramid.

Novus Ordo Seclorum which translates to ‘a new order of the ages’ is written on a ribbon below the pyramid and this phrase is said to be taken from the fourth Ecologue of Virgil. Also shown on the base of the pyramid is the roman numerals MDCCLXXVI or 1776, which is the year that the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence took place.

To the right of the reverse side of the note is a picture of the obverse side of the Great Seal which depicts a heraldic Bald Eagle and on the front of this eagle is a shield, said to signify the country’s fledgling ability to stand on its own. A glory of stars is also illustrated on the top of the eagle’s head and clutched between its beak is a ribbon that reads “E PLURIBUS UNUM” which translates to, ‘From many, one’. To symbolize the yearning for peace, but the readiness to fight, the eagle is also depicted holding an olive branch in its right claw with arrows in its left.

The Presidents on United States Currency

November 26th, 2008

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The decision as to which United States President graces the designs on the dollar bill is determined by thedollar tree United States Congress. United States Presidents have appeared on official banknotes, coins for circulation and commemorative coins in the United States as well as all around the world. Even throughout phases of redesigns, although there were significant changes in fabrication, the presidents which are depicted on the currency remained the same.

Currently, images of presidents that are struck on United States coins are Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President for the penny, Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd U.S. President for the Nickel, Franklin D Roosevelt who was the 32nd U.S. President for the Dime, George Washington who was the 1st U.S. President for the Quarter, John F Kennedy who was the 35th U.S. President for the Half Dollar, and Dwight D Eisenhower for the one dollar coin, although one dollar coins depicting President Eisenhower was ceased in 1978. Susan B Anthony and Sacagawea, both significant historical figures, currently grace United States one dollar coins.

The names of the presidents depicted on the United States paper currency are George Washington who was the 1st U.S. President for the one dollar bill, Thomas Jefferson who was the 3rd U.S. President for the two dollar bill, Abraham Lincoln who was the 16th U.S. President for the five dollar bill, Andrew Jackson who was the 7th U.S. President for the twenty dollar bill, Ulysses S Grant who was the 18th U.S. President for the fifty dollar bill, and Benjamin Franklin on the one hundred dollar bill. Note that Benjamin Franklin was not a President of the United States, although he was a very prominent figure in its history.

Other presidents that were featured are William McKinley who was the 25th U.S. President on the five hundred dollar bill, Grover Cleveland who was the 22nd and 24th U.S. President on the one thousand dollar bill, James Madison who was the 4th U.S. President on the five thousand dollar bill, and Woodrow Wilson who was the 25th U.S. President on the one hundred thousand dollar bill. Salmon P Chase, depicted on the ten thousand dollar bill, was a former Secretary of the Treasury and was the only non-president that was depicted in the larger denominations of the United States currency. All of these notes, however, are now considered obsolete and are no longer in circulation.

Recently, the Presidential Dollar Coin Program was passed by congress and former presidents will be honored if their death is two or more years before the intended issue date of these coins. Presidents that will grace these coins to date, in sequential order, are George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford,  and Ronald Reagan. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush may be depicted as well if they meet the requirement above.

The Canadian Dollar

November 26th, 2008

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The Canadian Dollar, like its name suggests, is the major currency of Canada. To tell it apart from other the canadian dollardollar denominated currencies around the world, the Canadian dollar adopted the letter ‘C’ in front of its dollar ($) sign. Currently, the Canadian Dollar is amongst the top-ten most traded currency in the world.

Dating back to 1858, the first Canadian coins which was struck in 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, and 20 cent denominations, were issued by the Province of Canada. Other coin denominations like 50 cents, 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, and 10 dollars were issued much later to meet the public demand. Canadian Coins are minted and produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The facility is located  in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and currently issues coins in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, 1 dollar, and 2 dollars. These coins are also called, in respective order, a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, 50¢ piece, a loony, and a toonie.

The designs on the reverse and obverse side of these coins also usually revolves around Canadian symbols, like wildlife and the effigy of Queen Elizabeth the Second, although some pennies and dimes of the yesteryears, which are still in circulation, carries the image of King George the Sixth.

Issued between 1813 and 1815, largely due to the War of 1812 where it was used during the emergency, the first form of paper money issued in Canada were the British Army Bills. These were denominated between 1 and 400 dollars. The first banknotes, however, were issued in 1817 by the Bank of Montreal. Other chartered banks around the country also followed suit thereafter and began issuing these notes for several decades to come. Prior to the year 1858, many notes were issued in currencies like shillings, pounds and dollars, resulting in varied denominations such as 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 3 dollars, 4 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 25 dollars, 40 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, 500 dollars, and 1000 dollars. This ceased after 1858 though, and only dollar denominations were used from then on.

the canadian dollar2The Province of Canada began issuing paper money beginning 1841, and these notes were produced for the government by the Bank of Montreal between 1842 and 1862. The notes were issued in denominations of 4 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, and 100 dollars. The Province of Canada began officially issuing its own paper money in 1866, and these came in denominations of 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, and 500 dollars. After the year 1896, denominations of 500 dollars, 1000 dollars, 5000 dollars, and 50,000 dollars were issued and used for bank transactions only.

In 1935, the Bank of Canada was founded and began issuing notes in denominations of 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 50 dollars, 100 dollars, and 500 dollars, and 1000 dollars, officially ceasing the currency issuing operation of the chartered banks in 1944. As part of the fight against money laundering and organized crime, in the year 2000, the Bank of Canada stopped issuing 1000 dollar notes and began withdrawing them from general circulation.

To date, Canadian dollar banknotes issued by the Bank of Canada remains of legal tender in Canada. Just as American Dollars are accepted by many Canadian merchants and businesses in cities which are near the American/Canadian border, the Canadian Dollars are also accepted by some businesses in the northernmost cities of the United States.

The History Of Paper Money

November 16th, 2008

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It is well known that paper currency or paper money was first created by the Chinese,who also incidentallyworld paper currency invented paper around 100 AD. The development of paper money in its earliest form can be traced right back to the 7th century. In the year 812, as a temporary solution to massive copper shortages, a Chinese Emperor started issuing paper money as a form of currency to aid trade, and this caught on so well that by the year 970 it was considered as a dominating type of currency in ancient China.

Stag skins, bark, or parchments marked with the imperial seal as “bills of payment” were used as a form of paper money during this time in history, and the penalty for those caught counterfeiting was death.

Before Marco Polo came back from his many voyages to China, dated between 1275 to 1292, the people of Europe initially doubted that the Chinese effectively used paper for as a form of currency, and paper money only began circulating in Europe 300 years later. However, the use of paper money ceased in China in the year 1455.

Paper currency had a lot of problems in gaining acceptance in Europe, although leather money was temporarily used around the year 1100, as a substitute to silver when the precious metal started becoming scarce. The history of paper currency in Europe started as emergency money substituting regular money such as coins. The first emergency paper bills are dated back to the year 1483 and the first bank notes were printed in the 17th century.

In 1161, a Swedish bank starting issuing paper currency but the money quickly lost its value when the bank started flooding the market with it. These first bank notes carried a guarantee that it could be traded at any time for coinage. Interestingly the name of this bank note was ‘cash’, a term that we still use today to describe paper money. The oldest existing bank note in the world is the 1000 ‘cash’ note of the Ming dynasty.

euro paper moneyThe usage of paper currency only caught on in Europe in the early 1700’s, when the French Government officially began issuing paper currency. The idea came from the paper receipts goldsmiths often gave their customer as a proof of payment and these receipts can be exchanged for gold as and when needed. This act was a milestone and was so significant that money was seen as a representation of valued commodity, as its exchangeable for silver and gold anywhere. A piece of paper currency is as good as a guarantee by the issuing institution, either the government or the bank, that would ensure the holder of the bill receive a predetermined amount of silver or gold from its reserves when it is produced. This is where the system in which money was backed by gold originated from, with the exception of times of war or national emergencies when paper money was supported by actual supplies of precious metal. This practice, however, ended in 1971.

Today, paper currency can be exchanged for almost any form of goods or services, in its value in return. This monetary system has proven so effective for so long that it may take a very long time before the currently emerging electronic money, as we know it today, will be commonly used as an alternative currency to paper money.

The American Silver Dollar

November 15th, 2008

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The real inspiration for the United States silver dollar probably came from a Spanish coin. This Spanish coin was made out of silver, a very rare commodity at that time and the coin consist nearly an ounce of it. This gave rise to the name Spanish dollar by the American colonists, which further charioted fame to the silver coin.

First minted in the year 1794, the United States silver dollar was proposed by and voted in by the United States congress to be used as the main form of United States currency. The United States silver dollar was american silver dollaralso duly used along side the Spanish dollar well after the American Revolutionary War ended. The United States Mint continued producing these silver dollars up to the year 1803, but the minting of the silver dollar was ceased for almost 30 years due to the shortage of the precious metal. Then in 1836, during the period of the Old American West, the silver dollar made its comeback into the American currency system and began gaining a reputation as one of the most preferred currency of that time .

The reason why the populace of the Old American West favored the silver dollar to paper currency bills is because they felt that due to the value of the precious metal at that time, the coins proved to be more valuable simply because it was made of silver, which was a very rare and expensive commodity. Because of this, the silver dollar remained amongst the major and most used United States currency until the late eighteen hundreds, coming only second to the United States gold coins, for obvious reasons, one being that gold has always been far more valuable than silver.

The United States silver dollar was also very important to the various communities of the American West, especially for the people who enjoyed going to the saloons or better known as bars today, as they could finally have a fair exchange for a drink instead of being shortchanged by the bartender, through the unspecified amount of gold dust they receive in return. Silver coins were also highly treasured by gamblers, river boat travelers, even traders, as well as by those purchasing goods from the local mercantile, as it more practical and it eases the exchange of goods for fixed amounts of money. It was said that many famous personas from the old west carry the silver dollar, characters including Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Buffalo Bill Cody and Geronimo. It was also said that many rouge guns slinger of wild west would sometimes melt these silver coins and turn them into bullets!

american silver dollarIn the Old West the silver dollar was worth far more than a dollar is today. People were able to buy shoes or other clothing items for a dollar, and it was a bargain compared to what a pair of shoes or pants cost today. A silver dollar would also buy 50 pounds of flour, 60 pounds of potato, 10 quarts of milk, five pounds of butter and two pounds of sugar. If only we enjoyed the same spending power today :)

The Rate Of The United States Dollar

November 11th, 2008

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The United States Dollar is the single most recognized paper currency in the world. Not only does support allrate united states dollar major transactions, whether domestically and internationally, but it is also the most used and preferred currency in the business world today, internationally. Understanding and knowing the value and the rate of the United States Dollar against other major foreign currencies and the impacts it has on the financial markets can do a lot for those who have or are planning to invest in the international financial markets. The rate of the United States dollar has and will continue to be the fundamental basis for many other international currencies, for many years to come.

The rate of the United Dollars is also the most telling indicator in gauging the status of the United States economy. This is because by simply knowing its rate, one will also be able to compare the strength of the economy of the United States against the economies of the nations and countries around the world. Because the international currency markets are based on the simple practice of trading with multiple different currencies, knowing the rate of the United States dollar will give an extra edge against the odds of making a profit when investing in this form of market. This is because the currency market is the single largest market in the world and the the United States dollar, given its vast use and utilization, plays a huge and significant role in ensuring a constant and lucrative worth in gain upon investment.

united states dollarThe rate of the United States dollar will also determine many other things, like the price of groceries or clothing, to spending on vacations overseas through exchange rates, to the price of gas and utilities. How much value it carries depends solely on the economy of the United States. The United States Dollar is also kept as a reserve currency amongst nations and countries, all around the world, which gives it that added influence in determining the strength of the global economy. It is also used as the major form of payment for raw materials, especially in the energy sector, making it even that more indispensable. Knowing the rate of the United States dollar will also tremendously help in analyzing the risk of investing in the forex market, so being able to tell how much the dollar is worth will allow investors to identify where to best trade their investments to allow a profitable income to be made from the international currency exchange markets.

It is safe to conclude that the rate of the United States dollar is the single driving force in the currency and financial markets today, and while other international currencies may influence the markets to a certain degree, the rate of the United States dollar is still the most important as it is considered the most credible and safest investment in term of currency trading. There are so many ways to learn about the rate of the United States dollar and its correlation with the international currency market and the internet is one of them.

The Dollar Bill and The US Economy

November 10th, 2008

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Throughout history, the dollar bill has seen the best and worst of times, and the current economic state ofdollar bill economy the country leaves very little to say about the positive impacts it once had in the international markets. The trillion dollar question that’s been running through the minds of so many today is: will the US dollar continue to decline in value or will it elusively begin to rise against all odds and obstacles, and make a come back again, more stronger and resilient than ever?

The value of the dollar bill declines when it loses its value in correlation to other foreign currencies. This results in diminished purchasing power on foreign trade, which will surely increase the price of imports, further causing inflation. When this happens, foreign investors will begin to sell of their US holdings, and the imminent crumbling of the financial market will ensue. It doesn’t help that the country’s current deficits amounting to trillions of dollars is owed to foreign countries through heavy lending, neither.

Due to this and much more, the dollar has lost almost half its value in the last decade alone, further fuelling speculation amongst creditor nations that the United States Government isn’t doing all it can in supporting the US dollar, partly because a weaker dollar would mean that the United States will not have to fork out as much money to pay back their creditors. The drawback to this is, these countries, realizing this, would revert their reserves to other more stable currencies like the Euro to minimize their loses. If this continue on the value of US investments will begin to erode, further invigorating inflation and the collapse of the US dollar.

The introduction of the Euro could also mean the probable replacement of the dollar as the preferred major international reserve currency, as is seen in the current oil trading markets which are proposing the use of the Euro instead of the dollar to aid trade. One of the largest investors of the US dollar is Japan, which means that in the case of an economic surge, the country, in its interest, could sells off its US holdings, increasing the national prime lending rate and strengthening the yen against the dollar.

treasury buildingGiven all these, many financial experts say that the US dollar will not continue to collapse because it is backed by the US government, making it the world’s safest reserve currency. Thanks to the emerging of more and more sophisticated financial markets today, the US dollar has also become a universal medium of exchange, and a transition to another currency seems all too bleak. Another reason why the US dollar will probably remain its hold globally is because it is currently the only currency accepted in any oil contracts, a source of energy that the entire world is so dependable on.

In short, it is not in the best interest of the international communities to allow the US dollar to collapse, as so much has been vested in it, and for credible reasons. This alone would ensure the strength and prosperity of the dollar bill in the many years to come.

Important TrackDollarBills Pointers

November 4th, 2008

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For users who avidly track their dollar bills and are wondering if they have to repeat the process exclusivelytrack dollar bills on a dollar-to-dollar basis each and every single time, TrackDollarBills is pleased to inform that it is now possible for users to enter several dollar notes at the same time, although this feature is only available to users who have entered a total of at least one hundred bills, separately. Having done so, these users will also be upgraded to the premium membership status, essentially enabling them to enter more than one dollar note at any given time.

For ardent users who are on a vacation but are wondering how they will continue to track and enter their dollar bills into the site, especially if they don’t have access to the internet, TrackDollarBills suggest that they write down all the information needed by the site on a piece of paper, such as the bill’s series, its serial number, the denomination of the bill, where was the bill obtained from, the physical condition of the note, or any related comments that they may have with regards. They can then enter all the information collected into the site when they return home from their vacation, and hopefully the paper money that they have spent will result in a hit as they do this.

If a bill was received while a user is travelling on a plane or in a bus or even a boat, they can enter in the destination that they were heading to instead. Recording the location that they were originally from also works as well. In the rare event where a user receives back the same bill that they have been tracking down, they are requested to contact the site’s support team for advice as TrackDollarBills doesn’t allow the same dollar bill to be entered in twice by the same user.

Also note that the site ranks its user as well as its participating countries in order to add a little bit of a competitive edge to the whole experience of tracking dollar bills. Statistics and reports are kept on the number of dollar notes that have been entered into the system, as well as the countries that they represent based on the same frequency. These rankings are updated on a daily basis and the site will post and update the countries and the names of those who are in the lead for the last seven days consecutively. Country rankings can be increased by simply encouraging friends and families to take part in this fun and interesting hobby. The more people that enters their dollar bills come from a particular country, the higher the chances of that country taking the lead on the score boards.

In order to avoid unwanted statistical issues or errors, TrackDollarBills users are encouraged to enter in their dollar bills within one week upon receiving them, or as soon as they possibly can. To date, TrackDollarBills have registered a total of 4,763 members. The number of dollar bill entries recorded so far is 32,567 and the overall value of dollar bills tracked up to now exceed more than 2.5 million dollars.

Enter A Dollar Bill

November 4th, 2008

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In order for a user to begin tracking down their US paper currency on the TrackDollarBills website they musttrackdollarbills first access the ‘Enter A Dollar Bill,’ page. Of course, this can only be done after they’ve registered as a member and have logged into the site. Once a member has entered all the information required, and upon hitting the ‘submit’ button, they will then be able to view all of the reports, graphs, and statistics generated for that particular dollar bill in question.

The information that a user is required to enter in order to properly track their dollar bills are the bill’s denomination, the bill’s series, it’s serial number, the user’s current zip or postal code, the current country of residence, where was the bill obtained or received from, what is the current condition of the note, and any comments or findings that a user may want to note down on that particular bill.

The denomination of the dollar bill one wishes to track is the first entry which is required. This should essentially be $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100, accordingly. Making sure that the right amount is entered is vital in ensuring an accurate reading.

The next piece of information needed is the bill’s series or the year that the bill is printed. Examples of bill series’ are 2006, 2003A, 2003, 2001, 1999, 1995, 1993, 1988A, 1985, 1981, 1981A, 1977, 1977A, 1969, 1969A, 1969B, 1969C, 1969D, 1963, 1963A, and 1963B. Along with this, the bill’s serial number is also required. The serial number on a dollar bill is notably the most crucial information on the list of questionnaires so users should be very careful about entering this information correctly. Serial numbers are usually alphanumeric and 10 to 11 digits long.

Next, a user will be required to enter his or her current zip or postal code, as well as country. After this information is entered, users will be asked for the location in which they received the bills they wish to track, as well as the current condition of that particular bill. The site recommends that a rating system of brand new, very good condition, decent condition, or poor condition, be used for general standardization.

Last but not least, users can leave any comments that will help with the identification process of the dollar bill, like a tear or a unique marking, or even anecdotes to make the story of the journey of the bill more interesting and colorful. These comments will be visible to other members so users are reminded to bear that in mind when commenting on their dollar bills, and they are encouraged to be as creative as they can with these remarks as well. Note that the site is against its users defacing the dollar bills they wish to track, which means vandalizing the dollar bill to the point where the note is no longer intelligible or even spent, as this is deemed illegal by the US Government. The site also advises its users to refrain from personally marking or writing on their dollar bills.

Utilizing The TrackDollarBills Site

November 3rd, 2008

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In order to fully appreciate and experience tracking your US paper currency, you must first and foremosttrackdollarbills users register as a member on the TrackDollarBills website. Without a membership, visitors to the site are only allowed to view the various statistical reports available.

The most important information required by the site upon registration is an email address. This is so its users can have a unique account that they can be identified by. An email address is also important because the site needs to notify it users whenever there’s a hit on the dollar bills they wish to track, as well as any new features or applications that have been added to the site. The site however ensures its members that email addresses will be kept confidential and will not be compromised in any sense.

In order to login, a user will need to enter their email and password, which is created during the registration process. In the case in which a member loses this password, all they have to do is to click on the link provided which will reset their password and send a new one to that particular member’s email address. The member can then use this password to login and change it back to a password of his or her preference.

Multiple account creation is strictly prohibited by the site’s administration team. Each account should only be exclusive to a particular user. This is to deter members from entering the same bill information on two separate accounts, and if a member is caught violating this rule, their account will be suspended indefinitely. This important measure is taken to ensure the ingenuity of the experience of tracking dollar bills on the site.

The TrackDollarBills website also has a forum in which its users can utilize. By clicking on this link, users will be taken to a page in which they will be able to immediately start posting on the message boards and interact with other members of the site. The TrackDollarBills site users usually finds that this heightens the experience of tracking their dollar bills, as they continue to discuss and share related stories or anything of interest with each other, through these forums, an activity which is highly promoted by its developers.

The users of TrackDollarBills are also highly encouraged to help advertise the site by spreading the word to their friends, family, and colleagues. They can also do this by adding the link or banners provided on their respective websites, or putting a link of their signature in the forums or blogs. Other methods of disseminating the wonders of the TrackDollarBills website is through the media, either by informing the press, such as the newspaper, radio, TV, or even through the world wide web. Another splendid idea is by using a video, probably on YouTube, to tell people how fun it is to track their dollar bills. TrackDollarBills also encourages its members to come up with new ideas and suggestions to make the site more fun and enjoyable to use, and they can do this by contacting the developers directly through the ‘Contact Us’ page.

The TrackDollarBills Site

November 2nd, 2008

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The TrackDollarBills website is relatively new but already it has been gaining a gregarious reputation trackdollarbills siteamongst currency trackers here in the United States, as well as around the world. Like all other tracking websites, TrackDollarBills was created with the intent to track the journey of its native currency, the United States Dollar, as it travels around the world. The site provides statistics on the US paper currency, its members, and the locations in which these dollar bills have been, with the help of its dedicated members. TrackDollarBills also projects numbers and rankings based on the number of dollar bills its member or participating countries have entered into its system at any given time. The site is ultimately a nonprofit, volunteer-based project which is completely free to use, and it actively encourages everyone out there to join in on the fun of tracking dollar bills.

Its users begin their journey by first registering as a member. The site requires only basic mandatory information such as a name and email to start off, and these details are kept anonymous. The collation of emails is so the site can inform its members whenever the dollar bill that they’ve registered into the system receives a ‘hit’. A ‘hit’ is a terminology given when the serial number of a dollar bill that has been registered is entered again by someone else, and every ‘hit’ represents a new person entering the same dollar bill on the site. When this happens, the journey of that particular dollar bill in question will be mapped out to all its past and present owners.

TrackDollarBills will also display a report on each of the dollar bill that a member enters on its site. The report will consist of information such as how many times a bill was entered, the names of the previous members that have entered these bills, the dates in which these dollar bills were entered into the system, the physical distance a bill has traveled, and all the information that the bill was registered under, such as the serial number and denomination.

Asides from individual reports, the TrackDollarBills site also composes graphs that details the circulation of United States Dollar Bills over time by gathering information on how many dollar bills are actually in international circulation as compared to how many of these bills that are registered within the site, along with information on how these bills circulate in other countries. Older information is retained and newer data is collected by using graphs to ascertain how this information changes over the months and years. Apart from this, the site generates statistics and rankings in which members can view and utilize to make the tracking dollar bill experience more rewarding.

The TrackDollarBills site also prides itself in being more than just a website, as its also established itself as a community. Its members have fun talking about everything under the sun through its forums and make new friends this way, or even find a compatible mate who shares the same interests as them, making the site a great way to get to know people from all around the world.

The United States Mint

October 26th, 2008

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The United States Mint was established on April 2, 1792, by the Unites States Congress through the Coinageunited states mint Act of 1792. The United States Mint building is said to be the first structure built under the Unites States Constitution and continues to hold this location in Philadelphia, which was also the capital of the republic back then. This historical building was also appropriately called “Ye Olde Mint”. The United States Mint comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Treasury and is fully backed by the Treasurer of the United States.

The first director of the United States Mint was David Rittenhouse, a well renowned American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman, and public official. Henry Voigt, who is credited with some of the first designs on the United States coinage, was employed by the Treasury to be the Mint’s first Superintendent and Chief Coiner. One of the most critical positions at the Mint is that of the Chief Engraver, which was held by such acclaimed men, among others being Frank Gasparro, William Barber, Charles E. Barber, James B. Longacre, Christian Gobrecht, and Anthony C. Paquet. The current director of the Mint is Edmund C. Moy.

The main objective of the United States Mint is to supply sufficient amounts of coinage for ease of trade and commerce in the United States. The Mint currently churns out an average of fifteen billion coins annually. Its other responsibilities include dispensing United States coinage to the Federal Reserve banks and its subsequent divisions, maintaining the physical charge and securing the country’s one hundred billion dollars worth of gold and silver holdings, the minting of proof, uncirculated, commemorative coins, and medals to be sold to public, producing and selling all United States platinum, gold, and silver bullion coins, and last but not least administering its other minting locations in Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; West Point, New York; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; and Fort Knox, Kentucky, where the United States Bullion Depository is currently situated. Both the Denver and Philadelphia Mints is known to produce up to 65 million to 80 million coins per-day!

united states mintThere were several other Mints that was set up in the mid-nineteenth century by the Treasury Department which are no longer operational today. These Mints were located in Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Carson City, Nevada, respectively. Some say that apart from the end of the Civil War, these Mints ceased its operations because of the drying up of precious metals like gold and silver, around these areas. Another prominent Mint was set up in Manila, Philippines, in 1920. This is the only US mint established outside of the Continental United States which was in charge of minting coins for the colony, and all coins struck at this mint would bear the M mintmark, for Manila. The Manila Mint closed down in 1941, during the initial stages of the second World War.

Today, the United States Mint receives more than one billion dollars in revenues, each year, and as a self-financed organization, its net profits are handed over to the General Fund of the Treasury. The Mint prides itself in propagating world-class business practices in producing, selling, and protecting the coinage and assets of the United States of America.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing

October 25th, 2008

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The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is currently the largest and only producer of all legal tender United bureau engraving printingStates currency today. It prints billions of Federal Reserve Notes every year and delivers them to the designated Federal Reserve Banks, to be issued and circulated accordingly. These Federal Reserve Notes are produced at two of its current facilities located in Washington D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas. Tours are offered to the public at these buildings and it showcases the various steps of United States currency production. The tour usually begins with the process of sorting out the large sheets of blank currency papers, closely followed by the intricate methods of getting the dyes ready, to the actual printing procedures itself, and ending with the ready to be spent dollar bills.

Apart from currency production, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing also plays an important role in advising other Federal managed agencies on document security matters. It also processes claims for the redemption of all United States currency that have been mutilated. It prides itself in its continuous effort in the research and development area which focuses on the continued use of state-of-the-art automation and counterfeit prevention technologies for use in the production of United States currency, further guaranteeing its integrity.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing began its operation in the United States Treasury building back in 1862, resulting from a legislation which was enacted to help fund the Civil War. This legislation authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue paper currency in lieu of coins, largely because of the slowly diminishing funds that was desperately needed to sponsor the war. Before long, in 1877, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was entrusted with the sole responsibility of producing all United States paper currency.

Prior to this, a private firm produced Demand Notes in sheets of four, and these sheets were then sent to the Treasury Department where dozens of clerks signed the notes, with another multitude of workers cutting the sheets and trimming it down by hand. This process eventually became mechanized and was moved down to the building’s basement, giving birth to the Bureau, an important umbrella of the Treasury which proved to be efficient as well as practical.

Before it was officially recognized in congress and was given specific allocations of operating funds through various legislations, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, in prior to the year 1875, was more commonly known as First Division of National Currency Bureau. Other of its failed labels include, Printing Bureau, Small Notes Bureau, Currency Department, and Small Notes Room.

Apart from printing currency, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is also given the task to produce revenue stamps, treasury securities, military commissions, award certificates, invitations and admission cards, different types of identification cards, passports, forms, and other special security documents for a variety of Government agencies. This additional responsibilities which was taken on by the Bureau beginning 1894, established it as the nation’s pioneer security documents printer which responds in like to the United States Government, both in times of peace and war.