Your checking account is likely to be the hub of your financial life, so it can be wise to check it at least a couple of times a week. You are probably swiping your debit card, receiving funds, sending out automated bills, and withdrawing cash from ATMs in a typical week, so keeping tabs on how much money is in your account is a smart move. You can see if your balance is getting low, if there are any transactions that aren’t going through as anticipated, and also scan for signs of unauthorized activity.
The frequency with which you check your account is personal; there’s no right or wrong number. However, at a minimum, it is recommended that individuals check their account monthly, but every few days may be preferable.
Here, learn more about this important financial topic, including:
• How often should you typically monitor your checking account?
• How often should you balance your checking account?
• What are the benefits of monitoring your bank accounts?
• How do you monitor your accounts?
How Often Should You Check Your Checking Account?
There really is no exact science when it comes to how often you should monitor a checking account. At the very bare minimum, it’s important to check it at least once per month to look for signs of fraud and fees that were charged to the account, as well as to see how your money is being spent.
However, for most people, once per month is not enough. One benchmark study found that 36% of Americans check their bank account every day, while 30% check it once a week.
There are many reasons why you might want to monitor your bank activity as often as once per day. Perhaps you have a very tight budget and worry about your balance slipping too low when you pay bills. Or maybe you are a freelancer and want to see if a paycheck you deposited has cleared. Maybe your debit card is lost and you’re worried it fell into the wrong hands and someone is swiping away with it.
In reality, there’s no harm in monitoring a checking account every day or even more frequently if it helps you take control of your finances.
Should You Check Your Bank Account Every Day?
How often you should check your bank account is a very personal decision. In general, you don’t need to check your bank accounts every day unless you are doing so to improve your financial habits. For example, if you are trying not to overspend, you might want to check your balance frequently to reassure yourself that you are not shopping too much.
A daily check can help spotlight if you are spending too much and risking going into overdraft or not reaching your financial goals.
It can also be a wise move to check your balance every day if you have any reason to worry that your account has been compromised or you might be the victim of identity theft. If so, watching your account like a hawk can help you detect bank account fraud and report it.
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The Benefits of Monitoring Your Checking Account
Whether you decide that the right cadence for checking your bank account is daily, weekly, or another frequency, here are some of the rewards of keeping tabs on your checking.
Spotting Hidden Fees
By regularly checking your bank account, you can keep an eye on fees you may be paying. Some financial institutions are notorious for charging hidden and/or excessive fees.
You might be surprised to see such charges as monthly account fees, ATM charges, overdraft and NSF fees, and more. You might want to dispute charges that you feel should not have been assessed.
Or, if you see that these fees are eating away at your cash, you might want to switch to a new bank.
Monitoring for Fraud or Scams
Unfortunately, hackers and scams are part of life. Even with protective measures in place, it is possible for your account to be compromised. By checking your account regularly, you can keep an eye on any suspicious activity, such as an automatic withdrawal you don’t recognize or a debit card charge that isn’t yours.
The sooner you spot such issues, the faster you can deal with them. This can help you be liable for no or lower losses. For instance, you are only responsible for up to $50 if you notify your bank within two business days of unauthorized charges with your debit card, but that figure rises to $500 if you notify your bank after two days but before 60 days after the bank statement showing the unauthorized transactions was issued.
Staying on Track with Your Budget
Checking your balance regularly can help you follow your budget. For instance, if you’ve created a line-item budget and have been successfully sticking to it, you may still encounter an unexpected expense, such as a big dental bill or pricey car repair.
By knowing where your bank balance stands, you can determine if you can afford to pay that bill from checking or whether this counts as a good reason to dip into your emergency fund.
How to Monitor Your Accounts
Thankfully, banks generally offer a variety of options if you want to keep tabs when managing your checking account.
• You can use your bank’s website or app to click your way to your account details.
• Another digital option is to use an app or website, like SoFi Insights, where account holders can connect all of their accounts and see a comprehensive display of their money. These tools can help create a full picture of where you stand financially.
• Some banks will offer text messaging for checking accounts as well. For instance, if your bank account is low or goes into overdraft, a pin number was entered incorrectly, or there’s suspected fraud, you might receive a text message alert. This can help you keep in touch with where your account stands.
• You can often check your balance at an ATM.
• If you bank with a traditional vs. online bank, you can go into a branch in person. You could ask a teller for help viewing your balance.
• Banks may also offer services via phone, where customers can call in and request their balance.
Setting Up a Checking Account
Even though it’s important to figure out the answer to “How often should you monitor your checking account?” it’s also critical to set up a checking account the right way so you get the best deal.
• Some checking accounts offer a bonus when customers sign up. There might be, say, a requirement to set up direct deposit or establish a minimum deposit amount in order to receive the sign-up bonus. Make sure the bonus isn’t offset by higher than average fees, though.
• Checking accounts may also offer interest to their customers; currently, the average rate for interest-bearing checking accounts in the United States is 0.03%. The higher the interest rate, the more a customer stands to earn, so you may want to shop around for checking accounts.
• When reviewing accounts, also consider the fees associated with each. Fees may vary by institution and by account type and could include things like a monthly maintenance fee, ATM fees, overdraft fees, and returned check fees.
Some banks may offer fee-free checking accounts, so it can be worth weighing a few different options.
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Opening More Than One Checking Account
The answer to “How many bank accounts should I have?” isn’t always one or two. There may be times when you’d want to open up more than one checking account. This could be helpful if you’re trying to save up for different financial goals and prefer keeping your money clearly separated.
• For instance, you could have a main checking account that’s linked to your debit card for everyday spending, along with a separate account where you keep your rent or mortgage payment just so you don’t accidentally spend it.
• Separate checking accounts could also help when it comes to budgeting. Perhaps one account will be dedicated to saving up for credit card debt, while another one is exclusively for daily purchases.
If you have multiple bank accounts, you may need to check your balances more often to make sure that your spending and saving are tracking as you want them to.
When to Get in Touch With the Bank
When keeping an eye on your checking account, you may encounter a few key times when it’s important to get in touch with your bank:
• If you see a fraudulent charge on your account, contact the bank as soon as possible. Many banks offer 24/7 customer assistance so customers can get in touch any time of day.
• If you are charged fees for an overdraft or a bounced check, contact your bank. You might be able to get those fees reversed. A bank may only do this in the first or second instance or take a part of the fee off, but it’s better than nothing.
• Another reason to call a bank is to see if there are any promotions available. Customers might be able to open a new high-interest checking account, receive a bonus, or lower their monthly fees. Banks may be willing to give customers perks so that they can retain their business.
Regularly checking your bank accounts is a vital part of keeping your finances on track. The exact frequency with which you look at your accounts is a personal decision, but what’s important is that you stay on top of your checking account.
Consider setting a calendar alert or reminder if you are having trouble remembering to review your accounts. Many people find that checking their account daily or weekly is the right cadence.
Here’s another way to make managing your money easier: Open an online bank account with SoFi. With our Checking and Savings account, you’ll spend and save in one convenient place and have Vaults and Roundups to help your savings grow. What’s more, you’ll earn a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) and pay no account fees, which can also help boost your wealth.
Why is it important to monitor your checking account activity?
Monitoring your checking account activity regularly is an important way to keep on top of your balance (and thereby avoid overdrafts) and scan for any mistakes or fraudulent activity.
How do I keep track of my checking account?
It can be wise to check your checking account regularly. You might look at your balance on your bank’s app on your mobile device, on your bank’s website, or at an ATM or bank branch. Setting up alerts for a low balance can be another helpful tool in tracking your checking account.
Should I check my bank account daily?
Many people do check their bank account daily and find it to be a good way to keep in touch with and on top of their finances. Others choose to take a look weekly. At a bare minimum, you should be eyeballing your account at least monthly to check for any issues or unauthorized activity.
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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.50% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a deposit to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.
SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.50% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.
SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.50% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.
SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.
Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.
Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 8/9/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at http://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet..
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