Getting in the habit of tracking your online banking activity can seem cumbersome, but in the long run it's well worth your time.
Frequent banking monitoring can help improve your credit score, by keeping your FICO (NYSE: FICO) credit score on track and help save you hundreds of dollars. By checking your statements, you’ll start to find and correct any errors. which will improve your score tremendously.
Tracking Your Withdrawals
When you take money out of your checking account to make a transaction, it's important to keep a hold of the receipts, especially if it's a large transaction. Even with online banking, the transactions can be pending for a while before they appear in your statement, or will not always show the location where you bought it.
To make sure that you aren’t being charged the wrong amount, tracking your withdrawals is necessary before you review your statements. This can be anything from writing a check, making a payment on your debit card, or withdrawing money from an ATM. When tracking these withdrawals, track the date when you made the payment, how much and any necessary details such as the name of the person you’re paying.
Reviewing Your Statement
Every month, block out some time to review your statement meticulously. This statement will be sent to you by your bank at the end of each month, listing your balance at the beginning and end of the statement month. Make sure you’re saving receipts of expensive transactions, or ATM fees, so that you can cross-check these with the statement and make sure everything checks out. This will help you to avoid spending more than you have in your account each month, also known as an overdraft, which can lead to hefty fines.
An important note to mention when reviewing your statement is how much easier this is with online banking. Most online banks won’t require you to wait for your statement at the end of the month to review your account activity. Instead, you can review your accounts at any time, checking them with your receipts as you go instead of having to keep them all each month. Not only will this save you time, but the transactions will be fresh in your mind as you look through your statements.
Following Up With Discrepancies
If you have found any discrepancies in your statement, record them. This could be anything from withdrawals you may have missed, transactions that haven’t shown up in your account or transactions that you didn’t make that do appear on your statement. After going through your entire statement, follow up with your online bank or other parties involved, such as companies or people that have mischarged you, to resolve these issues.
Following these three steps will create an eventual habit of staying on top of your finances by tracking your online banking activity. Using an online banking system will make this process even more accessible to you!
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