Here is another reason not to bounce a check: South Florida has the second highest penalty in the nation for writing a check with not enough money in a checking account, according to Bankrate.com.
The personal finance website that is based in North Palm Beach says South Florida consumers pay an average of $33.05 for every bounced check.
That is 7 percent higher than the national average, according to Bankrate.com's annual Checking Study that was released this week.
Only the Denver area has a higher overdraft fee assessed -- $33.50 -- than Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the survey found.
The reason is tied to the housing crisis that consolidated the number of banks in the three counties, said Greg McBride, Bankrate's senior financial analyst.
"We don't have that many -- our market is highly concentrated in just a few banks,'' he said.
Fortunately McBride said the high fee remains "completely avoidable."
He gives three ways to help you from not paying the onerous fees:
Don't keep your checking account on empty: Stash a little extra cash in your account so you don't have to worry about being a few dollars off until the next time you balance your account.
Sign up for a text or e-mail alert if your checking account falls below a certain amount so you can add money to avoid bouncing checks.
Do the math: You can monitor your accounts online to make sure your accounting agrees with the bank's -- and that you didn't forget to deduct any checks or ATM withdrawals.
If you discover you did have a mental blank and your checking account doesn't have enough to cover an incoming check, move some cash from your savings into your checking.
You may face a fee, but it will be a lot cheaper, McBride added. "Ten bucks sure beats $35,'' he said.
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