It prevents credit unions from extending their services to small employee groups.

Most Americans are now aware of the consumer debt trap and the need to build wealth, but don't believe they can do so.

We recommend that consumers shift their funds from traditional savings to CDs and from banks to credit unions. If everyone did so they would earn about $40 billion more in interest annually. That's an average of about $400 per household.

If consumers would simply maintain the minimum balance requirement, they wouldn't get hit with monthly fees and wouldn't bounce checks. You want to find a bank that has a minimum balance requirement you can meet.

Generally it's a good idea, but you need to comparison shop to make sure you get a good deal.

The bottom line for consumers is potentially billions of dollars a year in additional charges, fees, and higher interest rates and lower yields on savings.

Check the terms and conditions, particularly the grace period and fee levels -- whether or not there's an annual fee -- and interest rates.

Banks are increasingly monitoring profitability. If you have borrowed a lot of money or have tens of thousands of dollars in a money market account, they won't want to lose you.

It's a small industry that sells protection in the event you can't make your payments. Essentially, you buy it and it's very expensive; it's not a good deal.