- Checking your bank statement regularly can help you spot fraud or bank errors.
- People should review their checking accounts once or twice a week.
- Reviewing account activity can help you plan a better budget and stay on top of expenses.
Balancing your checkbook continues to be one of the most important personal finance practices. In the past, this was the one way to make sure your expenses, income and balance were all up to date; today, as mobile banking and online banking become more prominent, all of that information is available through your online bank statement.
Aside from balancing your income and expenses, why is it important to review your checking account statement? Checking your statement online can help you track your finances in real time and enable you to spot common mistakes you’re making with your checking account. Furthermore, checking your online statements can also help you spot fraud.
How often should you check your bank accounts?
Checking your bank account a couple of times per week or even daily can help you protect yourself from fraud and fees, as well as maintain good financial health. Knowing what’s in your account statement can help you spot fraudulent transactions and take charge of your personal finances by contacting your financial institution sooner to have these issues addressed.
So how often should you check your bank statement? The simple answer is usually at least once every few days.
How often should you monitor your checking account?
A checking account is typically the core account and can also be referred to as your transactional account. The checking account is where you deposit your income, withdraw cash, pay bills and receive payments. Thus, you’ll want to monitor your checking account often. Once or twice a week is usually sufficient, although you may want to check it more frequently if you’re expecting a large transaction to occur or suspect fraud on your account.
How often should you monitor your savings account?
Your savings account is the home of liquid assets you don’t need in checking. Instead, you have set them aside to earn interest. Even though your savings account does not typically have many transactions, it's important to keep track of your savings balance and the interest rate. It's also essential to monitor for fraud purposes.
Why should you check your bank statements regularly?
Regularly checking your bank statements can keep you informed about your financial transactions while allowing you to stay keyed into fraud and much more.
Protect yourself from fraudulent activity
Identity theft can bring about long-standing problems for your finances and credit. That’s why it's important to check for fraudulent charges on your accounts.
Once you spot suspicious activity, it’s critical that you act fast and report the charges to your bank. You will also want to report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work on recovering your identity. The quicker you spot fraud, the faster you can access the tools you need to fix it.
Possibly prevent fees
Banks may charge fees to your checking account that, without looking through your statement frequently, could be overlooked. Checking accounts frequently charge monthly maintenance fees if you don’t use direct deposit or maintain a minimum balance, for example.
You may also incur ATM fees or fees for receiving paper statements. Tracking your account activity can help you spot these fees when they hit your account, which keeps you apprised of otherwise hidden charges.
Make it a habit to review the bank account disclosure and agreement in addition to any schedule of fees to fully understand the features your account and avoid any potential fees.
Understand your spending habits
Overspending can be easy when using a credit card or debit card. Checking your bank statement or online banking transactions frequently can help you keep your expenditures in line with your income. It’s critical to understand your financial situation when spending with plastic or online. The more you can do to stay on track, the better prepared you’ll be to avoid debt. This, in turn, helps keep your credit report and score strong.
How to check your bank account balance
Account holders can check their bank account balance several ways. Your bank’s website might be the easiest place to go, particularly if the bank supports online banking or has an app. How to check your money and balance in an account may vary by bank, but each typically provides online statements and account activity.
This is just one way to access your balance. You can also check your available funds at an ATM, over the phone or by visiting a local bank branch. Bear in mind that your bank may charge you for looking at your balance at an out-of-network ATM, so phone or internet banking may be a better choice in that case.
Tips for monitoring your bank accounts
You can take several steps if you want to keep a closer eye on your finances. Checking your bank statement is a solid place to start, but you may want to make it easier to check in on your cash and ensure you have enough money to clear upcoming charges.
Other steps, like setting up direct deposit for your paycheck, can help automate some of the work associated with checking your financial health. Third-party budgeting mobile apps are also a popular option for many as they can help you monitor cash flow, short- and long-term spending trends and your credit card accounts and activity.
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