I'm Donny. I'm a world traveler, investor, entrepreneur, and online marketing aficionado who has a big appetite to compete and disrupt big markets. I thrive on being able to create things that impact change, difficult challenges, and being able to add value in negative situations.
One of the best ways to manage your money and take control of your spending is to monitor your checking account regularly. But with online banking and all manner of apps available to help you balance your accounts, is monitoring your account often still necessary?
You should monitor your checking account at least once a week. But if your account has a lot of activity and you carry out many transactions, you might want to check it even more often. This helps to check your balance, spot anomalies, avoid fraud and confirm that all your transactions are correct.
Better money management is the goal of everyone who wants to improve their financial status. In this article, you will learn more about why you need to keep a regular check on your checking account and get tips on effective ways to do so.
Why You Need to Monitor Your Checking Account Regularly
Since a checking account is a transactional account, it handles many daily activities, such as funds deposits and cash withdrawals via check or debit card. This makes monitoring the account particularly important as it helps you verify your transactions as well as confirm the account balance.
But that's not all. Let’s talk about more reasons why monitoring your account is essential.
To Keep Track of Your Finances
As already mentioned, monitoring your account helps you to confirm that your accounts are in order. Online accounts and mobile apps make this exceptionally easy since all you need to do is log in.
Checking your balance also ensures that you don't overspend your money.
You also need to examine deposits to ensure you have received all expected funds and purchases to get an idea of your expenses. This can help you figure out where you need to cut costs and budget better.
Tracking your expenses ensures you never are in danger of overdrawing your checking account, an activity that can result in unnecessary charges or, worse, a negative credit report.
To Avoid Fraud
The amount of money lost to fraud goes up every year.
By Dec 2022, losses attributed to card fraud had risen to $28.65 billion from the $27.85 billion reported in 2018, as per the Nilson Report. This is a worrying trend that shows even more clearly why you need to keep tabs on your checking account.
The thing is, someone can load fraudulent charges onto your account remotely, even as you remain in possession of your credit card.
That's why it's vital to remain vigilant and keep your money safe by monitoring your accounts frequently. Doing so enables you to spot any suspicious account activity early and report it as soon as possible.
Failure to report fraudulent account activity due to a lost or stolen credit card or can cost you the following:
- You don't incur any charges if you report the theft/loss of your debit card before any unauthorized transactions occur.
- You can lose up to $50 if you report the theft/ loss of your debit card within 2 business days.
- If you report the loss/theft after 2 days, but within 60 days, you stand to lose up to $500.
- If you receive your bank statement but report the loss/theft after 60 days, you risk losing everything taken from your account and any accounts linked to it.
To Protect Your Account From Hidden Fees
Banks have a litany of fees. From ATM fees, overdraft fees, account maintenance fees to minimum balance fees and balance inquiry fees, it's hard to keep track of all of them. Besides, some fees are not so obvious.
While for others, you might not be aware of their existence, for example, minimum balance fees. These are fees charged when the money in your account drops below a certain minimum amount, but some account holders might not be aware of them.
It is only through monitoring your checking account and going through each charge that you can manage to pick out hidden fees, thereby minimizing your account costs. If you notice a fee that you can't figure out, contact your bank to find out the reason for the charge.
This way, the bank can reverse the fee if it was in error, and if not, you'll learn how to avoid incurring such a charge in the future.
Helpful Tips on How to Monitor Your Checking Account
As you can probably tell, you cannot afford not to keep your checking account under constant surveillance. Fortunately, there are several easy but effective ways to monitor your account and keep your money safe:
- Automate account monitoring. Set up your browser window to show a tab with the login page of your checking account. Doing this will make monitoring your account a regular activity since it will prompt you to do so whenever you open your browser. Make sure to include all your other accounts, such as credit card and savings accounts.
- Review your bank statement. A bank statement holds details about all the transactions that transpire within a given period, typically a month. From this, you can see, confirm or query any account activity. Remember to cross-reference with other records to ascertain there are no unauthorized payments and if there are, notify your bank immediately.
- Get your bank's mobile app. Install your bank's mobile application on your phone, which enables account monitoring from anywhere. Some apps provide extra protection against unauthorized access by requiring you to use biometric authentication to log in.
- Set up automated alerts. Most mobile apps feature automatic alerts, making monitoring your account effortless. They send you a notification each time a transaction occurs in your account.
- Open an account with an online bank. If your bank's online or mobile banking services are not up to scratch or your phone is incompatible with mobile banking, try out an online bank's checking account. Online banks have lower overheads, so they can often offer higher returns and lower fees. The best part is that you can access your checking account from any place with an internet connection.
Link your checking account to a good budgeting app. Today, you can link your budgeting app to your various accounts. This allows you to check in on all your account activity at a glance.
Taking care of your checking account is your responsibility. Hopefully, with the tips shared here, you now understand why it's essential to monitor your account often and the dangers of not doing so.
Besides, it helps you budget better, helps put a grip on runaway spending, and protects your wealth.