Daily Dupaco

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Checks and balances

The checkbook register might as well be obsolete in the eyes of today's young, tech-savvy consumers.

But the old-fashioned money management tool is no less important in this digital age.

"The register is the only sure way to absolutely know what your balance is and how much money you have when you're out shopping," says Tami Rechtenbach, vice president of member services at Dupaco.

Unlike older generations, those from Generation Y don't use a check register to manage their money, Rechtenbach says. Instead, many young consumers wrongly rely on ATM receipts for their true account balance. But the receipts don't factor in outstanding checks that haven't cleared, leading some to wrongly believe they have more money.

When you don't have a handle on the money that’s coming in and going out of your account, it makes it easier to bounce checks – hello, unnecessary overdraft fees – and become a target for identity theft and fraud.

A check register helps you track all of your purchases, ATM withdrawals and deposits. Anything that would affect your account balance should be recorded in your register so that you know your true balance at any given time.

If you've never reconciled your checkbook or need a little refresher, click here for step-by-step instructions. For an in-person lesson, visit any one of Dupaco's branches, where a member services representative can walk you through the process.

If you know you won't use a check register, there are other tools available.

Dupaco's mobile app, for instance, gives members access to their accounts and other important information so they have Dupaco at their fingertips wherever they go.

And Dupaco's Shine Online Banking offers an array of tools, including e-notifiers, which let you know via e-mail or text that the balance in any designated account has dropped to a certain level. The customizable alerts can help you avoid fees by reminding you to transfer money or hold off additional purchases until a deposit is made.

"For the folks that don’t want to keep a register, those alerts are key to helping them manage their accounts," Rechtenbach says. "The biggest thing is they've got to do something; they can't do nothing."

"Come in and talk to us. Let's talk about your lifestyle and how you like to manage things. Let us give you the tools to make it work for you."

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