Time it takes: 9 minutesThe median fee for bouncing a check recently hit $27.50, according to Bankrate.com. Call your bank or visit its website to sign up for overdraft protection. With that service, the bank will cover your check with money from a linked savings account. It may cost you $10, but that's less than half the charge for insufficient funds - not to mention what the payee demands.
Get bank alerts - 4 minutes.
Avoid bounced checks and spot ID theft early by having your bank notify you when your balance falls below a certain level or when there's unusual activity in your account. Citibank, for example, offers alerts via e-mail or text message. To activate them, log into your online account and select Account Info and then E-mail and Wireless Alerts. You can add up to two e-mail addressesand a mobile-phone number for alerts. Use the menu ofoptions to designate what updates you want.