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Exclusive   2007 Checking Study
  STATISTIC: Bounced-check fee climbs 3 percent to $28.23. Checking account  
  fees keep going up, Bankrate's survey shows.  

Banking fees up again
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Recording your transactions, monitoring your account balance and activity and having a backstop in place are key to having a handle on your checking account.

Step 3: Embark on a path to financial security. If you long for financial stability and security, a good place to start is with how you manage your money on a day-to-day basis. You won't achieve financial security by throwing money away, so start by finding a checking account that fits your financial lifestyle. Maybe this is at your local bank, maybe it's at an Internet bank. But the goal should be nothing less than a free checking account.

Then it is up to you to manage your cash flow in such a way as to avoid fees for bounced checks and ATM usage. A proper fit for your financial lifestyle will avoid cumbersome balance requirements and the fees that act as a setback to financial progress.

Just as importantly, the right checking account will allow you to maximize the money that goes toward more productive uses, such as building up a much needed emergency savings cushion in an account where the yield stays ahead of inflation, rather than being stranded in a low-yielding checking account.

Getting a handle on how much is needed in your checking account to cover monthly expenses and striving to maximize your savings are necessary steps on the pathway to future financial security. 

To find the best checking account in your area, see Bankrate's checking rate search page.

To search the checking account offerings available at Internet banks, see Bankrate's online checking rate pages.

To find the best returns for your spare cash, check out the highest-yielding money market accounts and savings accounts on Bankrate.com.

Create a news alert for "checking study" -- Posted: Sept. 26, 2007
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Average interest yields keep dropping
ATM fees still rising
Traditional vs. online checking
Winners and losers: Certificates of deposit
Winner or loser: Mortgage shopper
Winner or loser: Home equity loans

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