It's easy to use a debit or check card for everyday expenses, but you need to stay on top of it.
"You've got to make sure, if you're using a check card, yo-u're using a register," Shane Jo-hnson of Bremer Bank told juniors and seniors Tuesday at Co-mmunity Christian School.
It's easy to forget to enter tra-nsactions and drain a checking account, Johnson told them.
If that happens, it can affect a credit report. If there is a chronic problem with bounced checks and unauthorized transactions, an account could be closed.
Johnson visited the Willmar school Monday and Tuesday mornings to talk with the Independent Living class about personal banking. He talked with students about how to open accounts, write checks and make deposits. He went over how to use a check register and emphasized its importance.
Teacher Melissa Scheele interjected that using a check register would become even more important when they were married and had a joint account. Johnson agreed that good record-keeping is needed if a couple has two checkbooks and two debit cards using the same account.
Another topic was finding the best way to handle money. For some people, a debit card works fine, he said. For others, "If you have cash in your pocket, you tend to keep a little bit better track of it."
Online banking, phone banking and full-service ATMs are all ways banks have developed to help customers who might not be able to get to a bank during business hours, he said.
"Back when I was your age, these types of things weren't that relevant," he said, but they continue to gain in popularity.
Scheele said Johnson's visits were part of the class's goal of introducing students to real-life situations before they leave school. They talk about budgeting, too, and they will soon be doing career exploration, including mock interviews.
All CCS high school students take the class, which is held 3 days a week for the full school year. At Tuesday's class, four seniors and one junior were in the class, along with a younger student who had an interest in the subject.
Johnson said he has taught banking classes at CCS before, and he has taught courses for other groups.
"We try to make sure that in the community we can educate wherever we can," he said. He tailors the class for the groups that invite him, he added.
"I enjoy being asked," Johnson said of going to CCS, which he attended through the sixth grade. "It's fun to give back a little bit somewhere I went to school."