Many of us don’t go to a physical bank branch anymore as so many of the services are easily accessible online. This ease of use means we get to do banking on the go instead of standing in a queue, which in turn equates to having more time to do the things we enjoy.
But don’t let the ease of online banking make you lazy about crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s while managing and growing your money.
Not checking your bank statements each month is a big no-no.
The reality is most people barely glance at their bank statements. But ignoring your statements is a mistake. You could be missing hidden costs that are digging you deeper into debt.
Bank statements contain valuable financial data and should be used as part of a foundation when planning a financially stable future. Taking a few minutes each month to check and reconcile your credit card and other bank statements can help keep control of your finances and avoid racking up more debt.
Here’s why checking your statements is a good idea:
- A bank statement is a good budgeting tool. If you know what is going in and out of your account, you can tighten control on spending.
- Banks have made it so easy. African Bank customers, for example, can access an interactive bank statement on their mobile devices. This gives you a convenient way to stay on top of your accounts, track your spending, and access the banking products you need.
- You get to grips with bank fees. By going through your statement line by line, you will easily pick up high fee transactions that eat into your balance. Once you know what the fees are, you can make the necessary adjustments to your banking behaviour to save on costs. It also doesn’t hurt to shop around — compare bank fees and switch to a bank that gives you more for your money.
- You can cut down on unnecessary spending. There could be a small subscription or policy fee coming off your account every month for something you no longer need. These small amounts add up, so the sooner you are aware of them and can cancel the debit orders, the better.
Bank statements are not complicated. They do, however, contain a lot of information that can be a little confusing at times.
Most bank statements contain this information:
- Bank information (logo, address, phone number, email address).
- Personal information (your name and contact details).
- Statement dates (for which period the statement is).
- Starting and ending balances
- Transactions over the period indicated (deposits, withdrawals, ATM withdrawals, etc.)
- Interest earned (if it is an interest-bearing account)
Most banks offer online statements, which are more secure than printed statements. Getting a statement in the mail could put your personal information at risk.
Don’t forget to reconcile your bank statements because this helps verify your transactions and gives you insight into your spending habits and, most importantly, helps you pick up any irregularities on your statement.
Brought to you by African Bank.