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How to Teach Your Children How to Budget

Parents have an incredible amount of influence on their children. From what clothes they wear to what foods they eat to what religion they choose, children generally follow the example that their parents set for them.

When it comes to budgeting, there are quite a few wrong ways to do it. Many parents are flippant about money in front of their children, and that sends a certain message to the youngsters.

Many other parents simply do not address the issue of money and managing money to their children at all, just hoping that their kids will “catch on” and figure it out for themselves. It would seem obvious that this is not a great idea.

Teach Your Kids How to Budget Early On

Neglecting to sit down with your children and talk to them about money and budgeting would be a serious mistake. If you don’t teach your kids about budgeting, who knows what financial mistakes they could make in the future?

Teaching your children now will help to prevent them from making the kind of financial mistakes that are very hard to undo later on down the road. Kids need a gentle but firm example of how to approach and manage money from loving and kind parents who want to help, teach, and guide them.

One of the most important things parents can do is to teach by example. Parents cannot expect children to live by certain financial principles if the parents aren’t willing to abide by these principles themselves. If a child sees their parent using their credit cards, second mortgage or a cash advance irresponsibly then they will be more likely to make the same mistakes when they grow up. While each of these can be great financial tools when used correctly, it takes the proper discipline to ensure that they’re paid off in a timely manner.

Begin With a Budget Sheet

Begin by showing your children your budget sheet, and how it all works. Show them what each column means and what expenses go under which column.

During your teaching moments with your children about money, be sure to be calm and patient with them at all times. No matter what age your children are at, it is important that they know that they are able to learn in a safe and inviting environment.

Make sure that they are not afraid to ask questions, or of looking dumb by asking a question. Make sure they know that asking questions is good and is a way to learn, and by no means mean that they are inferior.

Make Budgeting a Family Activity

It can also be a fun family activity to take a trip to the bank and talk about what happens there. It is up to your discretion as a parent as to how much information or how much detail you want to go into at the bank, but it could be a fun and exciting learning experience for your children.

Whatever you might be doing at the bank, like cashing a check or putting money into your savings account, make sure you talk to your children in specifics about what it is you’re doing. This will help them feel included and like they’re more a part of what is going on.

Banks often have balloons and candy for youngsters who are in the bank for their parents, so these types of things can help your children feel comfortable inside the bank and associate it with positive emotions.

Teach The Basics, Like How to Buy Groceries

One of your next stops after the bank can be the grocery store. Show your kids your grocery list and explain to them that you always bring a list to the store with the items that you need; otherwise it is likely that you will buy more than you intended and stray outside your designated budget for food that month.

Have your kids participate in going around each aisle and selecting the items that are on the list. Explain to them that there are different brands of each item and that certain prices are better than others.

Have them look at the unit prices on the tags under each item and teach them that that is where you can see how much you’re paying for a certain amount of an item. Explain to them that you want to get the most product for the cheapest price.
Bring a calculator to the grocery store and have your kids add up each item that they put in the cart. This can help them visualize and understand the concept of staying within a certain budget.

If they’re adding up the items in the cart and the total goes over the amount that you had set aside for groceries, explain to them that sometimes you have to make sacrifices if you can’t afford everything you wanted. Help them put certain things back on the shelf that aren’t absolutely essential.

A helpful learning activity that can go along with grocery shopping is helping your children look for coupons in newspapers and magazines before you shop. Explain to them that not all coupons are useful; only if you were going to buy that item already before you saw the coupon will the deal save you money.

Teaching your children how to budget and to interact with money in a healthy way is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them as a parent. They will have much more success with their finances in the future because of your diligent efforts to help them in this area.

Reducing Credit Card Debt Wisely

When you know that you need to reduce your credit card debt, it is important to understand that you will need a plan. Planning to reduce your credit card debt will enable you to track your progress and ensure that you are going to achieve the goals that you have set. Don’t be afraid to sit down and assess your situation to ensure that you are able to make a comprehensive plan that will help you get out of your credit card debt as soon as possible.

Lower Those Interest Rates

First, you should be sure that you know where you stand. There are a lot of people that do not have an accurate idea of how much money they really owe to their creditors. You should be sure that you take the time that you need to look through all of your debt and figure out exactly how much you owe and to whom you owe money.

Once you have figured out how much money you owe you will then want to figure out the interest rate for each line of credit. Paying off credit with a high interest rate first will ensure that you are not wasting money throughout the time that you are working on paying off your debt. Make sure that you have your interest rates correct when you are figuring out which line of credit you will want to start working on first.

When you know how much your interest rates are, you will then want to see if you can get them lowered. There are a lot of people that do not realize that by simply calling their creditor they can get their interest rate lowered and save hundreds of dollars as they are working on paying off their debt. Call each of your credit card companies and make sure that you ask politely to see if there is any way that you can get a lower interest rate.

Consolidate Those Debts

Once you’ve negotiated your interest rates as low as you can with your credit card company you should look into whether you could get lower rates with a debt consolidation loan. Getting a debt consolidation loan will often allow you to pay off all of your higher interest credit card debts with a more manageable lower interest loan. It will also allow you to focus on paying off one loan as opposed to making payments to several different companies each month.

After you know exactly what you owe and who you owe it to, you will then want to track the costs that you incur throughout the month. There are a lot of people that do not realize how much money they are spending on things that they do not need. You should take the time that you need to look through the different costs that you incur and then figure out which costs you can systematically get rid of. When you know which costs you can get rid of, you can put that money toward the debt that you are working on paying off.

Figure Out a Budget

As you get your finances under control, you will also want to create a reasonable budget for yourself. A reasonable budget will provide you with the money that you need to pay all of your necessary bills and ensure that you are not spending too much money. Don’t be afraid to reach a little outside of your comfort zone with your budget. You may need to cut some of your luxury expenses, but getting your finances under control will be well worth the cuts.

When you have your finances under control, you can then start making payments on your credit cards. The most effective way to eliminate debt is to put all of your extra cash toward the credit card with the highest interest rate. You want to make sure that you put as much money as you can towards paying down your debt. While you are doing this you will also want to make the minimum payments on any other credit card.

As you pay off a credit card you can then move the cash that you were using for that card and put it into another card. Continue paying off all of your cards to ensure that you do not owe any money to a credit card company when you are done.

Once you get yourself out of debt, it is important that you then stay out of debt. Working to stay out of debt can be frustrating when you are used to poor spending habits, but if you can recognize those habits and do all that you can to change them, you will be able to keep your debt to a minimum. One additional tool that you can use to help you stay out of debt is prepaid credit cards, this will allow you to still use the functionality of a credit card for paying bills etc.. but you will be more aware of how much you’re spending. When you keep your debt to a minimum, you can use your money as you wish rather than having your minimum payments dictate where you can spend your money.

Climbing Out of Credit Card Debt

Getting out of credit card debt can feel like an insurmountable challenge, but if you give yourself time to accomplish your goal and if you go about accomplishing your goal properly you may find that you are able to get rid of your credit card debt a lot faster than you would have thought. There are some simple steps that you can dedicate yourself to and these steps should help you get out of debt and be on your way to financial freedom in no time.

Evaluate Your Current Debt

First, you will want to start by evaluating the debt that you are in. Make sure that you go through all of your financial documents and take the time that you need to assess your financial situation. You should understand how much debt you are in and make sure that you know what your interest rates are for each line of credit that you are using. When you know what interest rate is the highest, you can pay down that line of credit quickly to ensure that you are only spending a minimum amount of money on interest as you are paying off your debt.

Create a Budget You Can Stick To

Second, you should be sure that you can create a budget that you will stick to. Creating a budget can be difficult if you are not used to the process, but it is important that you understand how to allocate your money. Allocating your money properly will ensure that you have leftover money to pay off the debt that you have gotten yourself into.

Creating a plan to pay off your debt will ensure that you are going to be making progress toward your goal. It is important that you set a goal for yourself and that you also map out how you are going to get to your goal. When you know how you are going to get to your goal, you can take each step, one at a time, rather than getting overwhelmed with a goal that is too large.

Debt Consolidation Can Make Budgeting Easier

You may find that it is easiest to manage your debt by consolidating the debt. As you take the time to consolidate your debt, you won’t have to keep track of a payment schedule for more than one payment. With a consolidated debt, you will be able to make one payment every month and be sure that you are staying up to date with your debt payments.

Many people do not realize that they may be able to save a lot of money by simply talking to their creditor. When you have an open dialect with your creditor you may find that you are able to get your interest rate minimized and save a lot of money in the future.

After you have gotten yourself out of debt, it is important that you know how you are going to stay out of debt. Once you are out of debt, you want to make sure that you keep the good habits that you were able to establish throughout the time that you were paying off your debt. When you have established these habits, you may want to write down what works the best for you. Whether printing out a weekly budget works the best for you or taking out cash so you do not use a debit card works best, you should understand how you are going to keep yourself within the parameters of your budget.

Staying within your budget may seem like it is restrictive, but being able to use your money as you please rather than pushing your money toward a monthly payment that you need to make is freeing. Staying within your budget allows you to allocate money toward the bills that are necessary and then the expenses that may not be necessary but that you want.

Doing all that you can to work through your budget and develop a healthy outlook on the money that you spend is a great way to ensure that you are in control of your finances.

If you feel that your finances are out of control, you may want to talk with a professional debt counselor. You can work with someone that will help you figure out the best plan of attack for your debt. With the help of a professional, your debt may begin to feel more manageable and you can be sure that you are able to use your money as you see fit.

Getting Your Credit Score Back to a Healthy Number

When you find that you have bad credit, it is important that you try to fix it as soon as possible. Having bad credit can keep you from a variety of financial opportunities and you want to take the time that you need to fix your credit quickly and as effectively as possible. Whether you have had problems getting your bills paid or you have defaulted on a loan, you should understand that you are not alone.

There are millions of people in the United States that have bad credit and the frustration that you feel when dealing with a bad credit score is normal. While you are looking to obtain a loan or even get a credit card, you may find that your bad credit severely inhibits your ability to do so.

Find Out Where You Stand

The first step in improving your credit score is figuring out where you stand. You should know your exact credit score. If you find that your credit score is below a 760, there is room for improvement. Making strides with your credit score will ensure that you are able to obtain loans in the future, get good rates on credit card interest rates and be eligible for financial opportunities in the future.

Repair Credit With a More Credit?

After you know what your credit score is, get a credit card. This may seem counter intuitive, but when used wisely your credit card can be a great tool to help you rebuild your credit. Start by taking the time to find a credit card that you will be able to be approved for. Once you have found this card, use it but make sure that you are using it wisely.

You should never put anything on your credit card that you are not going to be able to pay for when your statement comes. As you rebuild your credit, simply use your credit card rather than your debit card. Spending within the range of money that you are making is a great way to ensure that you are able to build your credit.

Try to keep your spending within 30% of the limit of the credit card. That way, you can be sure that the use of the credit card is beneficial for your credit score. When you are able to control your spending and keep your balances down on the credit card you will find that your credit card spending can be extremely beneficial.

Pay Down Existing Balances

If you already have credit cards and you have an outstanding balance on those credit cards, start to pay down those balances. When you pay down those balances, you can be sure that you are able to portray that you are responsible with your credit card. Paying down that balance can be a great way to help you increase your credit score.

Loans Can Help Build Credit

When you are in the position to take out an installment loan, you may find that this can help you credit score. Taking out a personal loan, a school loan, an auto loan or even a mortgage can be a great way to show that you are responsible with money. When you take out your loan, you should be sure that you are always making your payments on time. As you make your payments on time you may see an increase in your credit score.

As you look through your credit history you may find a late payment that you have made. If you have been a quality customer of your credit card’s institution, you may want to ask for some goodwill. There are many institutions that will simply erase a late payment to help you with your credit score. Contact your lending institution when you recognize that there is something on your credit score that could possibly be taken off by them.

Getting your credit score back to a healthy score can be a long process. Don’t be afraid to be patient with the work that you are doing. Although it can be frustrating, you should understand how you are going to slowly but surely work back to a strong credit score. Take your time paying attention to your finances and make sure that you are not afraid to talk with a professional should you have any questions. Getting your credit score back to a quality score may be time consuming, but it will be well worth the effort. You will find that the financial opportunities that are opened with a strong credit score can help you in a variety of ways throughout the rest of your life.

Getting Out of Credit Card Debt

If you are like most Americans, you use plastic to pay for a lot of your major purchases. The term “plastic” here means a debit or credit card.

A debit card is a card that is connected to your specific bank account. When you make a purchase with your debit card, money is pulled directly out of your bank account.

A credit card, on the other hand, is quite different from a debit card. When you make a purchase with a credit card, the card pulls money out of nowhere to make the payment.

However, this money isn’t really coming out of nowhere. You have to pay back that money that you spent, just at a later date.

Credit cards are good in some ways and bad in many others. Credit cards are good when you’re making a big purchase and you don’t have quite enough money in your account to make the purchase.

You can just swipe your credit card and then pay the amount in full at the end of the month when it is due. This can be very useful when you are trying to catch a sale on an item, like a TV or furniture set, and you don’t want to wait to buy it because then the sale will be over.

As you can probably guess, credit cards have their downsides as well. Many times people don’t actually have the money to buy whatever it is that they want to buy, so they just put it on credit.

By the time the bill comes in the mail, they still don’t have enough money to pay the bill. What’s worse is that the bill comes with a certain amount of interest tacked onto it.

So with a credit card, you’re not just paying the amount for the thing you bought, but you’re paying interest as well. You can probably see how it can be easy for people to rack up inordinate amounts of credit card debt on their cards.

If you have found yourself in this situation, try not to panic. There are things you can do to help yourself get out of debt.

There is no panacea, however. There is no cure-all where you can snap your fingers and all of your debt will go away.

The process may take time, effort, and even more money, but you can get out of debt. And it is worth it to be free of debt.

One of the most important things you can do to start getting rid of your credit card debt is to take inventory of how much you actually owe. This can done by examining all of the statement your credit card company has sent you.

If you can’t remember how much you owe, or you’ve lost the statements they’ve sent you, give them a call or look online. There will be a way for you to find out how much you owe.

Another important thing you can do is to try to start making a budget. Figure out how much money you’re making and where your money is going when you spend it.

This can be difficult at first, but with time, you’ll get better at it. Budgeting is crucial to successfully managing finances.

One of the next steps you can take is to try to understand why you are in so much credit card debt. Think about the things you bought with your credit card and the justifications you made to yourself so you could feel good about buying each thing.

While you may have wanted the items you bought with your credit card, were they really necessary? Sometimes the answer is yes, but most of the time the answer is going to be no.

It is important to be honest with yourself in this process, because you are the one who has to worry about the credit card debt that is piling up. Try to pinpoint why you’re in so much debt and work on solving that specific problem.

The next step could be to stop getting into more debt. There are several ways to do this.

One way is to simply stop spending money using your credit card. This may sound easy, but if you’re used to paying for things with your credit card, it will most likely be very difficult to just stop your credit card usage cold turkey.

Work on cutting back on your credit card usage, and soon enough, you’ll have conquered your problem. If you find yourself in the midst of credit card debt, follow these simple steps. They will help you get back on your feet and out of your credit card debt.

Modern Day Allowance on Prepaid Credit Cards?

For most parents, the thought of having a credit card as a pre-teen or teenager was unheard of for their generation but more and more parents are finding out that it’s a reality for kids growing up today. There are several reasons that prepaid credit or debit cards are now becoming commonplace for kids in today’s society. One of the largest reasons that credit cards for teenager and kids are becoming so common is that a lot of parents realize that credit cards are going to play a huge role in their children’s lives and will most likely be the sole form of payment that they use in the future.

And looking into the future it’s not just credit cards that will be used, if Google has their way people will begin making the move to their “Google Wallet” platform and when that happens all you’ll need to do to make a purchase is wave your cell phone over a credit card reader and that will be it. With all of these advances in technology it’s becoming even more important to kids and teenagers to become familiar with electronic purchases.

Credit Cards For Beginners

As we discuss providing credit cards for kids or teenagers it’s important to point out that it’s still important to teach children about money the old fashioned way by earning and spending real money. By teaching kids with real dollars and coins as opposed to putting them straight onto credit cards, kids will understand that when there are no more dollars or coins in their wallet, they are out of money.

Once your children or teenagers have a good understanding of money, how to count it, what it takes to earn it, and how to be responsible with it you can ease them into learning about how credit cards work with a prepaid credit or debit card. The reason we don’t recommend going straight to a prepaid debit or credit card for educational purposes is the fact that when you do that, the money isn’t real to them and they have no understanding of the consequences of poor money management. Believe it or not, most people when they move out of the house and on their own have no understanding of how credit cards work and before they fully gain an understanding they can find themselves in hundreds if not thousands of dollars in credit card debt.

In addition to teaching kids about money, there are several other reasons where a prepaid debit card or prepaid credit card comes in handy for kids. The fact of the matter is kids today want different things, where kids used to be happy with a few bucks so that they could go down to the store and get a back of baseball cards, today they’d rather have a few dollars loaded on an iTunes card so that they can download their favorite music, games, or television show within seconds. Some of the most common reasons kids like to use credit cards today are:

Online Purchases- With parents working more and more kids have found a way to become more self-reliant, one way that they’ve done that is by not sitting around and waiting for mom or dad to have time to take them to the store they need to go to down town but by finding what they need online. More than any other generations before, kids today have an ever increasing comfort level and knowledge of how to order the products they want online. To make these purchases possible parents can either trust their children with their personal credit cards or set up a prepaid credit card for them.

iTunes- iTunes has become an all in one media marketplace for over 500 Million users and whether it’s music, movies, TV shows, games, or the “in app purchases” that you hear so much about in the news iTunes is the source. Kids know what apps their friends are playing and what music is popular and they like to be able to download it instantly, all of that is possible with a prepaid debit or credit card.

eBay Items- If people can’t find something on a typical ecommerce website or are looking for a deal or something off the wall, eBay is the next logical step after. Most teenagers today have found something they want on eBay and some have already made thriving businesses on eBay so it’s no wonder that teenagers may need access to a prepaid debit or credit card for these purchases. In addition to prepaid debit or credit cards another common form of payment on eBay is through a payment transfer company called PayPal. As we mentioned earlier in the article it’s important that kids understand how all forms of electronic payment work so that they can be as disciplined as possible with it and by training kids with a prepaid debit card, they will gain an understanding of how to become more disciplined with their PayPal purchases as well.

Gaming Mods- Going in line with some of the off the wall purchases that kids have grown accustomed to, “gaming mods” are upgrades or additional levels that kids can purchase within modern day video games. Again, to be able to purchase these mods kids will need a credit card so the safest way to limit these purchases is with the use of a prepaid debit or credit card.

The fact that kids are becoming more comfortable with these online purchases is a great sign for the technology available today but as we mentioned before, without a solid understanding and appreciation of what it takes to earn and effectively manage real money, these electronic purchases can get out of hand quickly.

Another thing to take into consideration is that a lot of time with these “Gaming Mod” or “In App Purchases” where real money can be spent to buy virtual items or money in the games can cause the lines to get blurred between real money and virtual money which can lead to overspending. As long as kids have been taught to be disciplined with their finances they’ll be more likely to approach even virtual purchases in a disciplined manner.

If you’re interested in setting your kids or teenagers up with a prepaid credit card visit your local Check City location and talk to one of our helpful tellers to see which option is best for your needs.

Avoid Causing Pain to Your Credit Score

Does closing a credit card hurt your credit? Does missing a loan payment hurt your credit score? Does debt consolidation hurt your credit? Does checking your credit score hurt your credit? These, along with many other questions are ones that you should know the answer to in order to get a better credit score and or keep your credit score high.

Do you understand what credit score is? Many understand the basics, it is a number based on financial relationships that you have had with significant companies, like banks and apartment complexes. For example, if you do not pay a bill, or you miss a rent payment, etc. then your credit score could drop. The more frequently these things happen, the worse your credit score becomes. The less this happens, the better your credit score. It’s simple enough right?

Here are some helpful tips and tricks to help you from hurting your credit score:

Build Credit

If you have never had a credit card or have never taken out a loan, chances are you aren’t building any credit. Banks are far less likely to grant you a large loan for a car or house if you don’t have any credit. It is always important to be building credit and improving your credit score. Talk to a professional to help you find the best credit building methods.

Zero Percent

Credit scores are weighted heavily on how much you owe on revolving accounts. For example, if you have a credit limit of $500 on your card and you have a $50 balance, then you are using 10% of it. Your goal is to stay as close to 0% as you can. Some will tell you to stay between the 30 and 50% range, but in the long run, the healthiest level is zero, as you don’t owe anything in that case. Consistent low percentages on your credit card will show the credit companies that you have a solid foundation and you are able and willing to pay your bills off on time. Note: Companies also look at all of your balance histories on all of your revolving accounts. In plain and simple words, pay your bills on time and if you use a credit card pay it off as soon as possible.

Pursuing New Credit Lines

Believe it or not, the more often you make credit inquiries the more you hurt your credit score. Keep these things to a minimum. These things will hurt you more than help you. Be careful picking what credit cards you use. Don’t sign up for a card just because the incentives you’ll immediately get. Talk to a professional to find the best credit card for your needs.

Closing Credit Cards

A big chunk of your credit score is based on the length of your credit history, so a longer credit history is better. Often times, 15% of your credit score is based on your credit history length. If you close a credit card, especially one with a long history, this will make your credit history look shorter. This is why it is really important to do your research and talk with a professional to find a long-term card that best fits your needs.

4 Ways to Improve Credit Score

In the modern world, credit has become an essential part of many aspects of life. That means credit score can have an impact on your success.

If you have poor credit you might feel a bit hopeless, but you don’t have to. There are many things you can do to improve your credit and make your life a lot easier.

In regards to credit cards, you have probably heard of the classic 3 ways of boosting your credit score: keep an eye on your credit report, reduce the amount of debt you have and pay everything off on time. These three tips are important but often easier said than done.

Beyond those 3 basic tools, here are 4 great ways to improve credit score.

1) Low Balance

Credit reports take into consideration how much of your total credit limit you use consistently. If you are using a high percentage of your credit limit consistently, your credit score will drop. Strive to keep a low balance on your credit cards and it will keep your credit score high.

2) Making Multiple Payments

If you are paying off a credit card or making payments, consider making multiple payments within a month. This can do 2 things for you. First, it will reduce the total balance you owe, showing credit reports that you consistently owe less at the end of every month.

Second, that bill will take first priority when your pay check comes in. When you realize that you owe a certain amount every week, you’ll be more careful to save the money necessary to pay it off on time.

These are great ways to improve credit score!

3) Manageable Number of Credit Cards

It can be tempting to keep getting new credit cards, but the more cards you have the more difficult it is. Try to minimize the number of credit cards you have so you can stay on top of payments and be more successful in raising your credit score.

4) Keep Paid Debts on Your Record

Repaying your debts makes you look good, and that means you should keep your old paid debts on your report for as long as you can. This will show that you do repay your debts and will improve your score significantly.

Improving your credit score can have huge benefits in life. We hope we have taught you some great tips on how to improve your credit score.

How to Build Your Credit

Your credit score is a big financial influence in your lifetime. This score often times can determine where you live, the car you drive, and the kind of loans you can get. Your score is quite important when it comes to determining your financial leverage.

Those who have been prompt with payments, use their cards and pay them off on time are going to have better credit scores than those who have not. You always want to be working toward improving this score, no matter what.

The good news for those who might have made mistakes with financial transactions in the past is credit scores can always be improved. It may take some time and effort, but there is no reason to give up hope altogether. We are here to help teach you some tips on how to build credit score. Here are some useful tips when learning how to build your credit:

Credit Card

The first step is to use a credit card in the correct manner. It is really important to make your payments on time and in the correct manner to help build your credit. Rather than carrying a balance on your credit cards, use them as if they were cash. Don’t make a purchase unless there is money in the bank to back it up, and consistently pay your credit cards off. Credit cards are really important when learning how to build your credit.

Set Up Automatic Bill Pay

Setting up automatic bill pay will ensure you to never miss a payment. The payment will be automatically taken out of your account. If you are paying on time, your credit score won’t be lowered. Creditors want to see that you use credit and pay it off.

To make sure you are building good credit, set up an automatic bill pay on your credit cards. That way, your minimum payments will be deducted automatically from your bank account, and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to make the payments yourself.

Look Forward to a Bright Credit Future!

When you pay off charges to your cards as soon as possible, you will get the best results overall. Doing so will build up your credit score by improving your average over time in a significant way. Look forward with a bright future and start building your credit today! We hope you have enjoyed our tips and learned how to build your credit better.

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