A checking account makes it so much easier to deposit and withdraw cash for your daily transactions. After all, this kind of account allows you to access your money whenever you need it. And thanks to online and mobile banking, it’s now so much easier to keep track of your checking account.
But how often should you check your bank balance? Monthly, weekly, daily, and is there really a need to balance your checking account?
Read on, as we’ve got all the answers to your checking account questions.
1. What’s the purpose of balancing or monitoring your checking account?
Balancing your checking account requires you to add up all your deposits and withdrawals and add the result to your opening balance. The total is supposed to give you your current checking account balance.
The truth is balancing your checking account helps you to make sure you’re in agreement with your bank on how much money you have in your account. Still, there are other financial benefits of frequently monitoring your account, some of which are explained below.
Helps you keep track of your money
Perhaps the greatest benefit of balancing your checking account is that it helps you keep track of your finances. When you know how much money is available in your account, you can plan your spending. You also avoid bank overdraft fees due to withdrawals you make over your checking account balance.
Besides, balancing your account helps you plan your money. Knowing what you’re spending your money on makes it easier to develop a budget and decide on the expenses to reduce to save some money.
Regularly checking your account also helps you keep track of your revenue, especially if you receive your income from multiple sources. You can ensure that direct deposits from your income sources are coming in on time such that you have enough cash flow to run your business.
Bank account fraud is becoming a serious problem for many banks and customers. According to Buguroo, online payment platforms have made it easier for bank fraudsters to steal your money in real-time, making it harder for you to become aware of bank account fraud.
The good thing is if you keep tabs on your checking account, you may notice signs of unauthorized transactions from your account or debit card. If you notice such transactions, you should act quickly as the Federal law protects you from unauthorized charges depending on how fast you report the matter.
Here are a few steps to take if you notice an unauthorized charge on your checking account:
Make an official report of the charge to your bank immediately
Your bank can put a temporary freeze on your account or advise you to close it until the matter is resolved. Once you report the loss of your funds to your bank, federal law protects you from liability for any unauthorized transfers occurring after this report.
- Report the fraud to the vendor – You’ll need to contact the vendor to dispute the charge. If you check your account regularly, you may catch the charge before it’s posted on your account.
- File a dispute with your bank or credit company – You need to dispute the charge formally with your bank or Credit Card Company within 60 days. It’s possible to do this online by filling out an online dispute form. But in some circumstances, you may need to visit your bank and physically fill out the form.
- Fill an Identity Theft Report – Filling an Identity Theft Report with the Federal Trade Commission helps you clear your account. This federal law enforcement agency will help you develop a recovery plan and give you letters that you can take to your bank or merchant to help clear your account.
According to the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA), if you report fraudulent banking activities before charges show up on your account, you aren’t liable for any unauthorized purchases made after the report. If you report the fraud within two business days after learning about it, your liability rises to $50.
If you report the fraud after two business days, but less than 60 business days, you are liable for a $500 loss. Unfortunately, if you report fraud more than 60 calendar days after learning of the loss or theft, you’re liable for all the money taken from your account.
Therefore, your liability depends on how quickly you report a lost debit card or unauthorized transactions on your checking account.
Watch out for hidden charges
According to a survey done by MoneyRates.com, the average checking account customer pays $475 annually in banking fees. Balancing your checking account makes you aware of some of these hidden fees and come up with ways to eliminate them.
The most common fees that can drain your checking account balance include overdraft fees and failure to maintain minimum balance charges. Other modern bank fees include account maintenance fees, ATM fees, paper statement inquiry fees, and currency conversion fees. Even the most trivial transactions such as account balance inquiry and account closure attract some fees in some banks.
Examining your checking account allows you to spot hidden fees. Contacting your bank can help you understand the reason behind the charges. From this information, you’ll know what to do to avoid such charges in the future.
2. How to check your bank account?
To balance your checking account, you’ll need to compare the deposits and the withdrawals from your check register and your bank statement.
Here’s how to balance your checking account.
Access the month-end account balance of your checking account. Most banks offer this service through their online or mobile banking platforms. If on your e-banking account you can see the check my bank account balance icon, try to click on it and see if you’ll get your account balance on the screen. You can also call your bank or go to the nearest branch or ATM to check your balance. Some banks also offer text banking services where you receive your balance through a text message.
Compare the items on your check register and your statement and ensure the items match. In case there are some missing transactions in your check register, ask your bank about them.
Note any outstanding withdrawals or deposits that don’t appear on your bank statement. Balance your account by adding the missing deposits to your bank balance and subtracting all the missing withdrawals. The amount you get should tally with your check register amount.
If the check register amount is different from your calculated amount, you’ll need to find out why. Check for any errors. If you notice any bank errors or fraud, contact your bank immediately.
3. How often should you typically monitor your checking account?
Undoubtedly, not checking your account regularly will cost you.
How often you balance your checking account is entirely on you. Some people prefer to do it monthly. But this may not be enough if you want to notice fraudulent activities before they get out of hand.
We recommend that you check your account once or twice a week. If you want to monitor your account more closely, you can graduate to checking the account daily.
When checking your account, look out for any new transactions that you don’t recognize. You should also check for any scheduled payments and deposits and any hidden fees from the bank.
To keep your checking account secure, occasionally check that your personal details haven’t been tampered with and change your e-banking password every four months.
4. Tips for monitoring your checking account
Here are a few tips you can use to check your bank accounts balances and monitor your checking account.
- Enroll for online or mobile banking so you can access your checking account anywhere, anytime
- Set up alerts to get notified of any new changes to your bank account balance or personal information
- Sign up for eStatements to get instant information on your account
- Contact your bank immediately if you notice any suspicious transactions on your account
Set up a time every week to balance your checking account. You can also automate the process by use of an account monitor that will keep track of your account balance in real-time
Monitoring your checking account helps you manage your money. It also helps avoid hidden charges and stop fraud before it escalates to full-blown identity theft. With every bank having an e-banking or mobile banking platform, it’s now easier to keep tabs on your checking account. And hopefully, with the help of this article, you can now balance your checking account.
Amy Fischer - Born and lives in Israel. Despite the fact that she is still young, she is a very experienced specialist who is well versed in economics and banking. Also in her spare time Amy shares her experience and interesting news with the readers of Bank Login Lab.