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20track cell minutes

By Etan Horowitz

McClatchy News Sevice

As any parent of a teenager or frequent talker knows, it’s easy to exceed your allotted cell-phone minutes. Here are some free, easy ways to keep tabs on your minutes, text messages or other account information directly from your phone.

1. If you are a Verizon Wireless customer, dial #BAL (#225) and press call to check your balance. To check minute usage, dial #MIN (#646) and press call. To check text messages and data usage, dial #DATA (#3282) and press call.

2. If you have AT&T, dial *BAL# (*225#) and press call. For minutes, dial *MIN# (*646#) and press call.

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3. If you have T-Mobile, dial #646# and press call for minute usage. To check your balance, dial #BAL# (#225#) and hit send. To check text messages, dial #MSG# (#674#) and press call.

4. If you have Sprint Nextel dial *4 and press call to hear a voice message detailing your minute usage, text message usage and other account information.

5. It’s a good idea to program these shortcuts into your phone under names such as "Minutes" or "Balance." That way you won’t have to remember the shortcuts and you can quickly find out your account details in the future. You can also use your carrier’s Web site or call customer service to check your minutes and account usage.

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