Actively managing your accounts ensures that you always know your account balances, even when the true balance may differ from the amount printed on your last statement or ATM receipt. Please remember, your financial institution has no way of knowing about the checks you have written but have not been deposited, or what debit card charges you have made that have not yet cleared. It is ultimately your responsibility to monitor your account activity.
By tracking your deposits, transfers, and withdrawals, you not only reduce your chances of overdrawing your account, you also increase the chances of spotting dubious charges that result from identity theft.
We suggest reviewing your transactions at least once per month to make sure all charges are correct, that all checks you have written have cleared, and to make sure that any deposits were credited to your account. You will want to look closely at every withdrawal, making sure that the transactions were all initiated by you. Performing these simple tasks regularly helps to ensure that you are in complete control of your account.
Most banks and credit unions offer online banking tools that make managing your accounts easier than ever. Online account management is not the only way to effectively manage your account, but there are many advantages that make online banking worth considering. Even if you are managing your accounts online already, there may be features and strategies that could minimize fees and help to organize your bills - all from one convenient online destination.
There are several advantages to managing accounts online:
Most banks offer the option of either electronic or paper statements. No matter which type of statement you prefer, remember to save your statements for a minimum of three years - you may need them to document tax deductible education expenses, for financial aid verification, or in the event of a tax audit. If you bank online, make sure you understand your bank's statement archiving policy - if they save statements for just one year, for example, you will need to download the statements periodically and store them yourself. Otherwise, you will likely have to pay a retrieval fee for older statements if you need them later.
Protecting Your Data
One advantage to managing your accounts online is that your financial institution offers data backup and security systems that are much more advanced and fault tolerant than any system we could set up at home. But there are still a couple of potential issues you should understand:
There are many data backup solutions that vary in their security and ease of use. We suggest you investigate backup solutions on your own to find one that meets your needs.
UP NEXT: Building Credit >>