Your monthly bank statements provide a detailed review of all activities in your account from the first to the last day of the month or over a specified period. The bank statement always carries a start and end date for the period the statement covers. It is important that you review all the details on time so that you can report any discrepancies relating to debit cards, ATM, e-banking or POS deductions.
You have a 60-day window from the date the report was sent to the bank or they won’t be obliged to investigate your claim. Here are a few things to go look for in your bank statement.
Many bank statements have a summary at the top of the first page showing the total deposits, withdrawal, service fees and the opening and closing balance for the period the statement covers. From the statement, you have a general idea of what to expect. For instance, if you were certain that you had £5,000 in the bank but the figure in the statement is £2,500, you have a problem. It could be that the bank didn’t credit a deposit, made an error or debited you twice. Whatever the reason, the summary tells you where to focus.
This is where you’ll find details on bank fees, deposits and withdrawals from your account. The statement should prominently display the type of account you’re operating such as an interest-bearing or free checking account. A free account doesn’t pay interest and nor does it require a minimum balance. An interest-bearing account requires a hefty minimum balance but also earns interest. You can switch accounts if the benefits are not worth the charges.
Old direct debits
There are cases where the bank makes a direct debit on your account for a subscription you’ve already cancelled. It could be a mobile, internet or cable subscription. Get in touch with your bank and ask for your refund. Check the active direct debits to ensure they’re not overcharging you on those.
This mostly happens at ATM and POS machines. You make a payment or try to withdraw cash but it didn’t go through and your account was debited. Sometimes it happens when you try to make an online payment and the page crashes just as you’re sending in the payment detail. Your statement tells you if the money was charged or not.
Some banks list the fees separately and others include it in your account’s monthly activity. Common charges include your debit card maintenance fee and account maintenance charge. Some banks will also provide an app along with your account which will let you track all the expenses and have them labelled for you.
Other things to look for in your bank statement include
Look for Unauthorized ATM withdrawals
Watch for small amounts under £1 hitting your statements. It could be a phishing attempt from a hacker looking for a bigger hit in the future.
Review sequences of cleared checks for any fraudulent checks
Ensure that all debits match your receipts and chequebook
Check your income. If any payment is missing, get in touch with your employer and the bank