If you ask the old generation, they vividly remember the days that banks used to record deposits and withdrawals made from accounts. This was well known as balancing checkbooks. The current generation has no idea what checkbooks are, thanks to mobile and online banking that have reduced the urgency of meticulously balancing checking accounts. But, does this mean you shouldn’t frequently monitor checking accounts? If not, how often should you typically monitor your checking account?
Checking accounts are deposit accounts that individuals hold with financial institutions. The accounts have no limit to withdrawals and deposits. Checking accounts include business or commercial accounts, joint accounts and student accounts, or other accounts that offer similar features. This make it easy for operators of the account to shop online or send money someone with checking account number without limitations.
Benefits of Monitoring Your Checking Accounts
Balancing accounts might have eroded with the past era, but the importance of monitoring your accounts still stands. Below are a few reasons why you should monitor your checking account;
Protection From Overdraft
If you want to make a purchase or write a check worth more than what you have in your checking account, the bank covers the balance. This is often referred to as overdraft protection. The only catch is that the bank will charge some fee for every overdraft transaction. Overdraft protection is optional, and you can opt-out of overdraft coverage by choosing a checking account without overdraft fees.
Checking accounts allow account holders to make direct deposits to their accounts. You can use checking accounts at work, and your employer will electronically transfer your paycheck into the account. Banks benefits’ from this feature as it enables them to avail a steady flow of income that they can lend to other customers. To encourage this, most banks will offer free checking, i.e., no monthly maintenance fees or minimum balance for those who get direct deposits into their accounts.
Electronic Funds Transfer
Checking accounts support electronic funds transfer, also known as wire transfer. With this, it is possible to have your funds electronically wired into your account without having to wait for checks.
ATMs and Cashless Banking
Automated teller machines make it convenient to access money from checking accounts within minutes after deposits. It is good to be aware of the fees charged with ATM withdrawals. Through ATMs, as well, you can be confident in making payments or paying for bills anywhere.
With increasing technology, fraud is on the rise. According to the Nilson Report, they estimated that credit and debit card fraud cases would double between 2016 and 2025. However, credit and debit cardholders were given peace of mind by the Fair Credit Billing Act, which states that owners of credit and debit cards are not liable for fraudulent charges on their cards provided they make a report on time. This requires users to report losing their card within two days of learning the theft or loss.
Even if your credit or debit cards have not been stolen, it is possible for tech maniacs to post fraudulent charges on your account remotely. This is why it is crucial to check your account regularly to protect the possibilities of fraud. It is through this that you spot suspicious activity almost immediately it happens.
Track Your Finances
There is nothing as embarrassing as handing over a debit or credit card only to be declined. Tracking the amount of money going in and out of your account regularly is the best way to avoid such cases. This has been made simple, thanks to online banking systems, where account holders have to log in to their accounts to check their balances. Apart from checking the balance, consider going through recent purchases and deposits for confirmatory purposes.
For those who have trouble sticking to their budgets, monitoring their checking accounts frequently is a crucial step in identifying where they should cut costs. Monitoring also prevents cases of making overdrafts, which may result in unnecessary fees.
Discover Any Hidden Fees Charged
Banking fees are becoming a common phenomenon. You will find that the bank has imposed some fees that you cannot understand. Common and understandable banking fees include ATM fees, account maintenance fees, and overdraft fees for those who take overdrafts. However, some banks charge balance inquiry fees, currency conversion fees, minimum balance fees, paper statement fees, over-the-limit withdrawal fees, early account closure fees, foreign transaction fees and returned check fees.
If you are finding a hard time understanding these fees, you are not alone. These are hidden in the bank’s fine print, and most customers pay without realizing it. Monitoring your checking account frequently and studying every transaction will enable you to unearth such hidden fees. If you come across such fees, contact the bank and inquire why the fee was imposed on your account.
How Often Should You Check the Account?
There is no specific time that perfectly answers, “how often should you typically monitor your checking account.” Whereas some people feel that checking their accounts once every month is enough, some feel that monthly check-ins are not enough to have a conscious memory of their spending or help identify fraud almost immediately. It is better to check your checking bank accounts at least every week.
If you revolve around paycheck-to-paycheck or trying to control your spending, you should consider checking your accounts more frequently. This also applies to individuals who receive irregular paychecks, mostly from multiple sources such as self-employed persons or freelancers. In overall. Try to make checking your bank accounts a daily routine.
Tips for Monitoring Your Checking Account
Automate the monitoring process
To ease monitoring of your checking account, ensure that you automate the process. This is mostly possible for those who want to make an online balance enquiry. To complete this, set up a specific browser window with tabs that open to the login page of the checking account. Save the login page as your browser’s homepage. Through this, every time you open the browser, you will be prompted to check the accounts.
Use bank mobile apps
With technological advancements, nearly all banks have mobile applications that make it easy for customers to enjoy various services. Depending on your bank, download its mobile application for your accounts and use it to monitor your accounts.
Leverage online banks
If you are not satisfied with your current banks’ online platform or mobile banking service, you can go for various available online banks that offer free checking accounts. Online banks have made it easy for many to complete transactions from the comfort of their homes. They also have few overhead costs, accounts have low fees, and high returns.
Call your bank immediately you notice suspicious activity
Make a point of notifying your bank immediately if you notice an unfamiliar or excessive charge than what you agreed on your account. If the transaction is still pending, the bank will wait until the transaction is posted before initiating a dispute. Note that some businesses, such as gas stations, rental car agencies, and hotels will place holds on payments made from your account. Therefore, if you see a pending charge, this could be the reason.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, there is some light as to the many concerns as to “how often should you typically monitor your checking account.” Simply put, you should make it a habit to monitor all your accounts, not only the checking account. This answers the common question everyone has when it comes to making a transaction, “what is my account balance?” Check on your savings and credit card accounts, as well. You should do this at least every week or twice a week. This ensures that all your account details are correct, and charges are accurate. Dispute inaccurate charges and transactions immediately they are posted.