Having a checking account is a great way to keep track of your money and pay bills. Most Americans have a checking account, but many of these same people do not know how to balance their account. This can lead to bounced checks and other problems.
Here are some simple steps that can help you with your checking account:
Know where you are at. The only way to know where you are at with your checking account is to keep good records. You need to be able to compare your statement with something else in order to reconcile your end of month balance. The best way to do this is to use the check register that comes with your checkbook.
Do not put it off. When your bank statement arrives in the mail, open it and reconcile it with your register. It is always better to examine your bank statement as soon as possible for a couple of reasons.
First of all, if there are any mistakes on the statement, reporting them to your bank as soon as possible will help ensure that they get corrected quickly.
Second, the faster you can match up the information on the statement with the information in your register the less likely you are to make mistakes.
Make sure that you check all checks from your bank statement against your check register. Check off all checks that have come in and make a note of those that have not come in and the amount of each.
If you have an account that requires a minimum daily balance, make sure that you check the daily balance summary. Most people do not have to worry about this, but consumers with interest bearing accounts or those who must maintain a minimum average balance will want to make sure they kept enough in the account to stay in compliance with their account requirements.
Another good way to improve your checking account management skills is to use your online banking capabilities, if you have online banking. This is truly an easy way to find out what your current balance is from day to day. It is also a great way to keep track of what checks have been paid and which checks are still outstanding. Online banking only takes a few minutes to set up and it can truly save you a lot of headaches, especially if you are one of those who does not have a lot of cash on hand during the month.
Whether you are using written statements, online banking, or a combination of both, it is very important to take a moment and examine the actual check number as they become posted. For many people, keeping track of the check numbers is the best way to know if there is an outstanding check that stills needs to be paid. Because check numbers run in sequence, this is an easy to do task, especially with online banking. If you notice a skip in the sequence, you know that you have checks out.