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3 Tech-Smart Ideas to Avoid Checking Account Fees

Apprisen Financial Advocates says consumers need to track and monitor checking accounts closely

Columbus, Ohio - March 10, 2011 - In January Apprisen Financial Advocates suggested consumers make "2011– the year to get and stay on track with their money" a resolution that will have lifelong benefits. Seven key habits that make up good personal financial money management were identified. Apprisen is a national nonprofit consumer Financial Services agency that provides personal Financial Services and financial education. This month Apprisen focuses on one of those habits, consumers should "learn to handle bank accounts well."

Most consumers have a checking account at a financial institution. However, with hectic life styles, the proper management of a checking account sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Consumers that fail to properly monitor their account can pay a price for that lack of attention in the way of costly fees. CCCS recommends consumers follow these tips to track and monitor their checking accounts:

Keep an accurate check register:

It's very important that all account activity be immediately entered into a check register. The longer consumers wait, the more likely deposit or withdrawal slips can get misplaced or lost and not recorded in the register. Save all receipts until the account is balanced. When a register account balance is not accurate, consumers may think there is more money in the account than there really is, which can lead to overdrafts and overdraft fees. To help avoid this problem, some banks offer consumers text alerts when checking accounts fall below a certain balance.

Reconcile your bank statement immediately:

When monthly checking account statements are received, they should be immediately reconciled with the check register. It's much easier to correct a problem that is 24 hours old than it is to correct one that is 24 days old. Even better, banks now offer the ability to check accounts online 24/7, so consumers can monitor checking account throughout the month.

Consider automatic online bill paying:

It's human nature to be forgetful at times. Forgetfulness can be costly if it leads to bills being paid late or not at all. Setting up bills to be paid automatically can help avoid that problem and save the associated late fees. (Setting up automatic payments with companies my also qualify consumers for discounts and special offers.)

Recurring bills to be considered for automatic payment include mortgage and car payments. These payments should be scheduled to be paid several days in advance of due dates, so if there is a problem, there is time for the consumer to make alternative payment arrangements. If third parties fail to make payments on time, the consumer is still responsible for that late payment.

Next month another one of the seven habits will be discussed. Consumers can find information on all seven habits to make "2011– the year to get and stay on track with your money" by calling Apprisen at 800.355.2227 or visiting www.apprisen.com, click on the "News and Media" tab, and then "News Releases."

About Apprisen
Apprisen Financial Advocates, a national nonprofit Financial Services agency, has been helping consumers manage their finances and get out of debt since 1955. Certified counselors provide money management, debt counseling, HUD-approved housing counseling and financial education. Services are provided in- person in 10 states through local offices and nationally by phone or via the Internet. The oldest nonprofit Financial Services agency in the country, Apprisen Financial Advocates is known in its local communities as Consumer Financial Services Service (CCCS). Accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), Apprisen is a member of the National Foundation for Financial Services (NFCC), the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and AICCCA. Information is available 24/7. Call 800-355-2227 or visit the website, www.apprisen.com. You can also follow CCCS/Apprisen on Facebook and on Twitter.

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