What is a Bank Statement?
A bank statement is a summary of financial transactions that occurred at a certain institution during a specific time period. For example, a typical bank statement may show your deposits and withdrawals for a certain month. Bank statements allow you to check for errors, watch for suspicious activity, and track your spending. You may also need to submit a bank statement when you apply for a loan or mortgage.
A bank statement is a document that shows all the transactions that have happened in your bank account. This includes deposits, withdrawals, interest earned, bank fees paid and the total balance on the day the statement was sent.
Bank statements are usually sent every month, and show the transactions of that month. Some banks post bank statements to the account holder. But online bank statements are becoming much more popular. You can often view these on your bank’s website or mobile app.
A bank statement is an official summary of financial transactions occurring within a given period for each bank account held by a person or business with a financial institution. Such statements are prepared by the financial institution, are numbered and indicate the period covered by the statement, and may contain other relevant information for the account type, such as how much is payable by a certain date. The start date of the statement period is usually the day after the end of the previous statement period.
Once produced and delivered to the customer, details on the statement are not normally alterable; any error found would normally be corrected on a future statement, usually with some correspondence explaining the reason for the adjustment.
Bank statements are commonly used by the customer to monitor cash flow, check for possible fraudulent transactions and perform bank reconciliations. Historically they have been printed on one or more pieces of paper, and either mailed directly to the account holder or kept at the financial institution’s local branch for pick-up. In recent years there has been a shift towards paperless electronic statements, and many financial institutions now also offer direct downloads of financial information into the account holders accounting software to streamline the reconciliation process. Bank statements are important documents, and usually required to be retained for audit and tax purposes for a period set by relevant tax authorities.
To enable account holders to track account activity on an ongoing basis, many financial institutions offer a non-official transaction history before the official bank statement is produced. Such activity may be viewed on or printed from the financial institution’s website, a smartphone application, available via telephone banking, or printed by some ATMs.
Transaction histories or account balances may also be shared with other financial institutions, when the account holder gives permission, through open banking to provide services such as account aggregation. An aggregation service only lets the software view an account balance, not actual transactions.
What Shows up on a Bank Statement?
What’s included in a bank statement varies based on your financial institution. If you have a checking and savings account at one bank, you may see both in the same report.
Here’s what’s generally on a bank statement:
- Account number
- Home address
- Statement period
- Bank’s customer service number
- How to report errors or fraudulent activity
- Beginning balance for the time period
- Direct deposits
- Electronic transfers
- Canceled checks or payments
- Reimbursements or credits
- Purchases and payments
- Electronic transfers
- ATM withdrawals
- Auto payments
- Fees charged by the bank
- Interest or dividends earned
- Ending balance for the time period
For each item, you’ll also see a transaction date and the payer or payee name.
Each statement covers a certain period, such as a financial quarter or one month, but it might not begin on the first day of the month. For instance, your statement might run from September 6 to October 5.
If you find any inaccuracies on your statement, you should report them to your financial institution. You usually have 60 days from the statement date to dispute any mistakes or errors. Typically, disputes are done in writing, so be sure to provide any supporting documentation you have. Your institution should work with you to resolve the errors and any fraudulent activity.
Historically, bank statements were paper statements produced periodically on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Since the introduction of computers in banks in the 1960s, bank statements have generally been produced monthly. Bank statements for accounts with small transaction volumes, such as investments or savings accounts, may be produced less frequently. Depending on the financial institution, bank statements may also include certain features such as the cancelled cheques (or their images) that cleared through the account during the statement period. Paper statements are typically posted to a customer’s home address, and sometimes a copy may be posted to, say, an accountant or guardian.
Some financial institutions use the occasion of posting bank statements to include notices such as changes in fees or interest rates or to include promotional material.
Financial institutions are required to produce paper statements to customers unless the customer requests either electronic statements or no statements at all. Historically, production of statements was regarded as part of the banking function, the cost of which was part of providing the service. More recently, however, to encourage customers to opt to receive electronic statements, some financial institutions charge a fee for paper statements.
Some countries such as Japan never had a tradition of mailing statements, with individual account holders being expected to keep track of deposits, withdrawals, and balances using their own passbooks at ATMs.
How to get Bank Statement offline?
In offline mode, bank statements are typically sent out via post by some banks.For most banks customer needs to visit the bank branch and fill in the bank statement request letter to collect the bank reconciliation statement.
Different banks offer different statement periods hence a customer can choose the statement period according to his/her requirement and collect the same from the bank branch.
ATMs also offer the option to print a summarized version of a bank statement, called a transaction history. Hence, one can opt for the ATM option too.
Since the late 1990s, banks have encouraged customers to receive statements electronically. The switch normally requires express customer consent, which is typically obtained through an online banking system. Producing electronic statements saves the financial institutions the significant cost of printing statements, folding them into envelopes and postage. In addition, customers could receive statements more promptly, and not be dependent on the postal service for delivery. The customer could print the statement at their premises if they needed one, or have access to historic statements on the institution’s website as needed. Other parties may be authorised to have access to the customer’s financial information on the institution’s website.
Electronic statements may be sent as attachments to emails or, as a security measure, as a reminder that a new statement is available on the financial institution’s website. Whether such statements are transmitted as attachments or from the website, they are commonly generated in PDF format, to reduce the ability of the recipient to electronically alter the statement.
Due to identity theft concerns, an electronic statement may not be seen as a dangerous alternative against physical theft as it does not contain tangible personal information, and does not require extra safety measures of disposal such as shredding. However, an electronic statement can be easier to obtain than a physical one through computer fraud, data interception and/or theft of storage media.
How to get Bank Statement online?
Online mode refers to electronic version or paperless mode wherein the account holders can access their statements called the e-statements online via mobile banking app, netbanking portal and download it as a PDF.
Some banks don’t provide the option to download or print the bank statements while accessing them via mobile banking app, netbanking account. In such a case, banks send statements via email to the customers that can be downloaded or printed.
Some banks automatically send monthly statements by mail. These mailed statements will be identical to what one views online.For the security measure, these mails are password protected and can only be accessed by filling in the right credentials.
Here are some of the steps to access the bank statement online:
Step 1: Login to the account through the bank’s net banking portal or mobile banking app.
Step 2: Look for the heading “bank statement” or “e-statements”.
Step 3: Select the statement period.
Step 4: The bank will send the account statement for the selected period on the registered email ID of the account holder. Alternatively, some banks also provide the option of downloading the bank statement as a PDF through the netbanking portal or mobile banking app itself.
How to Reconcile Your Bank Statement
Reconciling your bank statement serves several purposes. First, it helps you verify all of your bank transactions, ensuring there are no mistakes. It’s also a time to make sure you didn’t miss a payment or pay someone twice. And you can track any uncashed checks from the previous month.
Reconciling your statement also gives you insight into your finances and how you spend your money. This can lead to better money management.
To reconcile your bank statement:
- Check your bank statement against your own records. This can be a written log and receipts, budgeting software or an app.
- Check the balance. Make sure the starting balance on your bank statement matches your records. If not, find out why and correct the issue.
- Check deposits. Review the deposits listed on your bank statement to ensure they match up to your records.
- Check withdrawals. Check your withdrawals in the same manner you checked deposits.
- Reconcile your accounts. If something doesn’t add up, work to fix the issue by adjusting your own records or by working to correct bank errors. The goal is for the ending balance on your statement to match your records each month.
How to Find and Correct Mistakes on Your Bank Statement
It may not happen often, but finding a mistake on your bank statement can be frustrating, especially if you are diligent in reconciling your account. If you do come across a mistake, work quickly to fix the matter with your bank.
Here are some steps to take to correct errors on a bank statement.
1. Verify the Mistake
If you come across a mistake, take time to verify that it’s actually a mistake. Set aside any evidence of the error if possible. You’ll need it when you reach out to your bank.
2. Contact Your Bank
Contact your bank to inform them about the error. Depending on the financial institution, you may do this by calling the bank’s customer service department, sending a secure message through your online bank account or by email. Send any proof of the mistake at this time. If contacting your bank by phone, let them know you have evidence of the error and ask them the best way to send it.
3. Contact the Third Party
If the error involves another party, take time to inform them of the mistake, in case it affects records on their end as well. They may be able to help resolve the error faster than you can on your own.
4. Adjust Your Records
Once the error is corrected, make the necessary adjustments in your own records. It’s a good idea to keep records of your correspondence with your bank or third party, in case any issues arise later. Keep the names of people you speak with, along with the date and time.
What Can I Do with a Bank Statement?
Bank statements come in handy for a variety of reasons. From monitoring your spending to catching errors, bank statements are an easy-to-use financial tool.
Here are the main things you can do with a bank statement:
- Gauge your spending: Review your bank statement monthly to keep a tab on your expenses.
- Track your savings: Look at your beginning and ending balances over the course of a month or a quarter. Take note of how much you’re accumulating.
- See how much interest you’re earning: If your bank or credit union gives you interest, see how much money it’s making you every month. Depending on what interest you earn, you may want to put some of your money in an investment account or money market to earn more.
- Monitor your account balance: Reduce overdraft fees by ensuring you always have enough to pay for bills and ATM transactions.
- Identify fraud: Review your statements regularly to help spot fraudulent activity, like someone using your debit card. Promptly contact your bank should you find any fraudulent transactions.
- Catch banking errors: Banks sometimes make mistakes. Contact your bank if you suspect any errors, such as depositing in the wrong account or mischarging you.
- Watch for mistakes: Say a waiter accidentally typed in $52 on a restaurant credit card machine when your bill was only $25. Make sure your bank account is free of errors, duplicate charges, and discrepancies.
- Apply for a loan: Whether it’s a personal loan or mortgage, you may have to provide bank statements to your lender to prove your financial standing.
- Rent an apartment: A landlord or rental agency might request to see your bank statements before signing a lease.
- Refinance your home: Financial institutions may want to see several bank statements if you plan on refinancing your home.
- File your tax return: You may need to reference your bank statement when you file your taxes.
- Maintain records: Keep your statements in a safe place in case you need them in the future. You can download them on your computer or print them and place them in a secure file.
Bank statements provide you with a clear, ongoing picture of your financial activity. By reviewing your statements, you can monitor your spending and saving while watching for any errors. Most importantly, being mindful of your finances will help you reach your goals and achieve financial well-being.
Benefits of a Bank Statement
During the reconciliation of their bank account with the bank statement, account holders should check for discrepancies. Account-holders must report discrepancies in writing as soon as possible. A bank statement is also referred to as an account statement. It shows if the bank is accountable with an account holder’s money.
Bank statements are a great tool to help account holders keep track of their money. They can help account holders track their finances, identify errors, and recognize spending habits. An account holder should verify their bank account on a regular basis — either daily, weekly or monthly — to ensure their records match the bank’s records. This helps reduce overdraft fees, errors, and fraud.
If any discrepancies are found, they must be reported to the bank in a timely manner. Account-holders usually have 60 days from their statement date to dispute any errors. They should keep monthly statements for at least one year.
Why are Bank Statements Important?
Budgeting and Financial Planning
A bank statement is like a personal P&L statement. It allows account holders to keep track of their finances and plan for future expenditures. Bank statements are also extremely helpful for budgeting, as they allow account holders to decipher how much they are spending on different categories.
For example, an account holder can calculate their monthly expenditure on food by adding up individual transactions.
Fee and Interest Tracking
If a bank or credit union gives interest, one can see how much money is being made on their savings every month. Depending on the interest earned, one may put some of the money in an investment account or money market to earn more.
Reconciliation and Identification of Fraudulent Activities
Once the bank prepares a bank statement or e-statement at the end of the month, account holders are usually given 30-60 days to analyze the charges and reconcile their cash balance.
Since the bank statement contains all charges, along with the corresponding dates and payees, it can help account holders identify any fraudulent activity. For example, if the bank statement shows a charge for a transaction that the account holder did not engage in, they can contact the bank and request that they look at the fraudulent transaction.
Bank statements can also be useful to analyze the creditworthiness of the account holder. Most banks and financial institutions require verification of bank statements for the last 2-5 years before giving loans to individual clients.
Banks use the individual’s bank statements and other credit documents to analyze the creditworthiness of the borrower. It applies to most types of loans, including residential mortgages, student loans, and loans for small businesses.
- A bank statement is a document that shows your deposits and withdrawals over a period of time, and information such as your account number, interest accrued, and beginning and ending balance for the statement period.
- Most banks provide free bank statements online; some automatically mail paper statements to your home, but others will charge you for hard copies.
- You’ll need to provide a bank statement when you apply for a loan, file taxes, file for divorce, and take other actions that require proof of income or assets.
- You can use your bank statement to track your spending, create a budget, keep financial records, and check for mistakes or fraud.