How to Balance Your Checking Account

When it comes to recording checking account transactions, many people try to keep a mental tab on their accounts...which is how they get into financial trouble. It gets even harder to keep track when you regularly use your debit card for everyday purchases. So save yourself the trouble and possible overdraft charges by utilizing your check register booklet.

Get your personal finances back on track.

Your check register is the key to properly balancing your checkbook and getting your personal finances back on track. Here are some steps that can help get your checking account in order:

  1. Start by logging each of your transactions in your checking account register. Make sure you record the date of the transaction, the amount that was paid, and the payee. Be sure to include all ATM transactions as well.
  2. As soon as you get your bank statement, match up the transactions on the statement with those in your register. You want to make sure all transactions are accounted for in your register. Many banks offer online banking where you can see scanned images of returned checks as well as recent activity.
  3. If you've missed any transactions, add those in. Subtract any monthly banking fees and add interest gained on your account.
  4. The total that you get after adding all of those numbers together is your current balance. If you've made any withdrawals that were not included on your statement, subtract those from your current balance.
  5. If you still have checks that have not cleared, add them to the current balance. Also, add any ATM transactions that were not noted on the bank statement. This might have occurred because you conducted an ATM transaction the day after your statement was printed.
  6. Compare the new current balance amount with the one that appears on your statement. If they match up, your checking account is balanced. If not, repeat these steps again to see if you can pinpoint the error. Be sure to call your bank right away to report any discrepancies.

If you like using your debit card but not your check register, Online Banking can help you keep your checking account balanced. When you bank online, you have around-the-clock access to your accounts. You can monitor your transactions and make sure that your balance information is correct. Most Online Banking accounts can even be synchronized with personal financial software such as Quicken® for added convenience.