Your bank account is the hub of your financial world. It’s where most of your money comes in, and where most of it goes out. And it’s all reported on your monthly bank account statement.
Checking bank account statements is pretty straightforward. Many banks will mail paper statements or email digital statements once a month. When these documents show up, don’t ignore them. Take a moment to review your statements and ensure everything checks out.
When something goes wrong with your finances, your bank account statement is where you might see the first red flags, from bank errors to fraud. Here are six red flags to look for on your monthly bank account statements.
6 red flags on your bank account statement
1. Low account balance
The first thing you’ll want to check is that your account balance matches your expectations. Your balance will be a result of the total of the various transactions on your account — money you took out as well as funds you deposited.
If your balance doesn’t look right, that’s a big, red flag. You’ll want to review your transactions and deposits to find the discrepancy.
Make sure your balance is high enough to cover upcoming expenses as well, especially automatic payments. Checking for this will let you know if you need to transfer some money over from savings to cover your bills and avoid an overdraft.
Lastly, you’ll want to ensure that you’re maintaining a sufficient balance to avoid any monthly fees or charges. Many checking and savings accounts charge a monthly maintenance fee, but this is often waived if you meet a minimum balance requirement. If you catch this low balance early, you can move some funds around and dodge the fee.
2. Missing or inaccurate deposits
Next, you’ll want to verify all deposits made to the account. You want to track income you put into the account and ensure you’re actually getting the money you earned.
For regular paychecks, verify that the deposits are the usual amount you expect. If your pay varies between pay periods, keep your pay stubs and use them to cross-check deposit amounts on your account.
And if you deposit checks or cash by ATM or in a bank branch, always get a receipt. This ensures you can prove you made a deposit, and how much it was. Locate ATM and in-branch deposits on your bank account statement and make sure the amounts match what’s on these receipts.
3. Potentially fraudulent charges
Next, review your transactions to ensure that you recognize each one. Watch for vendor names you’re unfamiliar with or purchases you don’t remember making. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself from identity thefts and fraudsters.
Don’t just watch for big-ticket items, either. Pay attention to small transfers, which thieves might use to “test” card numbers and see if they are valid.
If you find a transaction you don’t recognize, double-check receipts to see if you can figure it out. Sometimes it’s a simple case of a mismatch between the vendor ID on your account statement and the storefront name. But if you do find a transaction you don’t recognize, contact your bank immediately to alert them to potential fraud on your account.
Ideally, you should check bank accounts on a daily basis to catch potentially fraudulent charges early. Otherwise you might be liable for the fraudulent charges. According to Consumer Reports,
Federal law limits your liability for fraudulent debit-card charges to $50, but only if you report the theft or loss of your card or PIN within two business days of discovering the problem.
4. Transaction errors
Banks also can make mistakes. Your deposit might be wrong because the bank transposed two numbers on the check amount. A bank might even accidentally deposit someone else’s check into your account.
Watching for these errors will help you identify and resolve them quickly so there are no hiccups in accessing your funds.
5. Bank fees
Next, identify any bank fees charged to your account, such as monthly maintenance fees or overdraft charges. These costs eat into your funds and are easy to avoid.
If you incur a fee that you rarely pay, such as a fee for an overdraft, call your bank and try to get it reversed. I’ve had maintenance and overdraft fees waived simply by asking nicely.
If you keep seeing the same fees in your account statements, it might be time to try a new tactic. Try switching to a no-fee checking account or setting up balance alerts to avoid overdrafts.
6. Missed or late bill payments
Lastly, you should verify automatic bill payments to ensure they went out on time and were for the correct amount. Check the payment amounts and dates against your bill statements.
Make sure all your credit card and debt payments are listed. Keeping up with payments is crucial to maintaining and building credit. You’ll also usually get hit with a fee for making late payments. Thus, you’ll want to ensure your bank account shows all sent payments.
Keeping up with your monthly bank account may seem like a hassle. In reality, it’s a task that takes no more than 15 minutes and is vital to your financial health.
Not only will you be able to catch and resolve issues with your bank account, but you’ll also get a snapshot of your financial health. And you might even discover new strategies and ideas for how to do more with your money.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.97% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 6.30% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
APR stands for “Annual Percentage Rate.” Rates listed include a 0.25% EFT discount, for automatic payments made from a checking or savings account. Interest rates as of 11/8/2018. Rates subject to change.
Variable rate options consist of a range from 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term, 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term, 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term, 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term, or 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term, with no origination fees. APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rate will change on the first day of every month (“Change Date”) if the Current Index changes. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes. The variable interest rates are calculated by adding a margin ranging from 0.98% to 3.80% for the 5-year term loan, 2.35% to 3.85% for the 7-year term loan, 2.40% to 3.90% for the 10-year term loan, 2.65% to 4.15% for the 15-year term loan, and 2.90% to 4.40% for the 20-year term loan, respectively, to the 1-month LIBOR index published on the 25th day of each month immediately preceding each “Change Date,” as defined above, rounded to two decimal places, with no origination fees. If the 25th day of the month is not a business day or is a US federal holiday, the reference date will be the most recent date preceding the 25th day of the month that is a business day. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 3.27% per year to 6.09% per year for a 5-year term would be from $180.89 to $193.75. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.64% per year to 6.14% per year for a 7-year term would be from $139.65 to $146.76. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.69% per year to 6.19% per year for a 10-year term would be from $104.56 to $111.98. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 4.94% per year to 6.44% per year for a 15-year term would be from $78.77 to $86.78. The monthly payment for a sample $10,000 loan at a range of 5.19% per year to 6.69% per year for a 20-year term would be from $67.05 to $75.68.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.28% effective October 10, 2018.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 6.30%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.51% – 8.09%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.02% – 6.44%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.21%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.79% – 8.39%6||Undergrad & Graduate|