Banking » Guides » How To Read (and Understand) Your Bank Statement
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How To Read (and Understand) Your Bank Statement

Like any other financial aspect, knowledge is power and can help you to save money in the long run. Here's a guide on how to read your bank statement.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: April 15, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. It doesn't affect the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. Transparency is a core value for us, read our advertiser disclosure and how we make money.

Table Of Content

If you're new to banking, you may be wondering how to clearly understand each detail mentioned on your bank statement, whether you get it in the mail or online.

It is important that you learn how to understand your bank statement – like any other financial aspect, knowledge is power and can help you to save money in the long run.

Key Takeaways

  • The bank statement shows the details of transactions on your bank account during the specific period. You can view the bank statements online, or receive them by mail every month.
  • The bank statements show the starting balance for the period, cash deposits and withdrawals, bank transfers, purchases, as well as fees and interest payments.
  • Any amount that comes out of your account is shown as ‘debits’ or ‘withdrawals’. At the same time, any cash that is added to your account is shown as ‘credits’ or ‘deposits’.

What Is A Bank Statement?

You can view your bank statement online, or your bank mails it to you at the address you provide. In addition, it allows you to track your bank account's activity for the previous month. Typically, bank statements comprise details from the last 30 days (business days). These details have been explained below.

A bank statement's purpose is to summarize the transaction activity during a particular period. As your bank does not own the money in your bank account, it has to act as a fiduciary and report the transactions and balances to the depositor.

For the account holder, a bank statement allows them to monitor the ingoing and outgoing transactions in their bank account.

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What Shows on a Bank Statement?

A bank statement includes a ‘summary of the account,' instructions for reporting inaccuracies, and transaction details. If you have a savings and checking account at the same bank, you may get both records in the same bank statement report.

Each statement's bank statement usually shows the following:

  • Starting account balance
  • Your withdrawals like transfers sent, purchases, and ATM withdrawals
  • Your deposits, like checks cashed, direct deposits, and transfers received
  • Any fees that the bank charges
  • Any interest that the bank account earned

These details follow the new balance in the bank account. In the transaction details section, you can find withdrawals, fees, and specific deposits

A comprehensive list of everything you can see in a bank statement includes:

  • Statement cycle
  • Your information
  • Bank information
  • Account Activity
  • Account Summary
  • Transaction date
  • Credits
  • Debits

You can learn more about these components in the next section.

How to Read Your Statement?

To read your bank statement properly and effectively, you need to understand each detail it tells you.

The following bank statement parts are numbered accordingly in the above picture. These details include:

How To Read (and Understand) Your Bank Statement

1. Statement Cycle

The first important thing to look for in your bank statement is the “for a period of” or “statement ending” date, which indicates the date range your bank statement covers.

Bank statements are periodically generated and are not updated with new bank account information.

For example, suppose the bank manager generates the bank statement on April 11th and covers the period of March 9th to April 9th. In that case, any transactions you made on April 10th will not be visible in the statement. (You will have to wait for the next bank statement you receive).

2. Your Information

Your name, bank account number (for security purposes, it often appears with only your account number's last four digits), and your current mailing address will also be present on the bank statement.

With these details, you can verify that the statement is from the correct bank account and yours. You will receive different bank statements for every account you have opened with your credit union or bank.

3. Bank Information

Your bank statement should comprise easy-to-find and clear identifying information about your bank or transactions.

This information includes the bank's name, phone number, website, and other important information about when and how you can reach out to them for any queries you might have.

4. Account Activity

You will also observe a detailed breakdown of every bank transaction via your account.

Any cash from your bank account, like the payments or withdrawals you authorized and purchases you made, will be shown as “withdrawals” or “debits.”

Similarly, you can see any deposits, payments that went into your bank account, and credits you had as “credits” or “deposits.”

5. Account Summary

You will observe an account summary on your bank statement that provides you with a “snapshot” view of your bank account. You can see this summary at the top of your transactional list. It will indicate your starting balance, total amounts of additions and withdrawals, and, finally, the ending account balance.

It is important to bear in mind that the ending account balance shown is the balance that was accurate on your statement cycle's ending day.

Hence, it might not necessarily be the same balance you have on the day you read the bank statement.

6. Transaction Date

Some of the transactions on the bank statement might reflect a minor delay (one day or two), as some purchases, such as significant payments and credit card transactions, might not have been posted the same day you made the purchase.

Instead, the transaction date indicated the date on which the bank actually processed the transaction.

7. Credits and Debits

Credits are funds that enter your bank account, whereas debits are funds that leave your bank account.

They include check deposits made at a bank branch, ATM, or online and paychecks that your employer deposits directly into the bank account.

Debits comprise payments you make with a debit card, bill payments, and the bank's fees for account overdrafts or accounts.

How Can I Get Bank Statement?

Your bank should send you bank statements, either online automatically or by mail, if you have a savings, money market, or checking account. You must do so if you are not getting a bank statement regularly.

By following these steps, you can find out how to start receiving your bank statement and then ensure that you thoroughly review your bank statement.

  • Step 1- Collect your account and personal information: Without concrete proof that you are, in fact, the account holder, your bank will not provide you access to your bank account and statement. Therefore, ensure you know your bank account number and have a personal identification document that banks accept, such as a valid driver's license, current passport, or U.S. military ID.
  • Step 2: Swing by your local branch: The bank cashier can modify your deposit account, including assigning the address at which you can receive your periodic account statement. While you wait, they may also be able to print out past or current bank statements for you. Remember to present your ID document to the cashier to verify your identity.

How Print My Bank Statement Online?

Regardless of which bank you have your account in, the procedure for printing your bank statement is more or less the same.

The steps involved usually are:

  • Access your bank's Online Banking service.
  • From the left-hand menu, tap on “Statements.”
  • Under “Your Accounts,” you can view, print, and save your bank statements in PDF format.
  • Select the bank account from the list for which you need the statement of
  • Click on ‘Next'
  • Select a time period you want to view your bank statement for
  • Press” View statement.”
  • As you click “View Statement,” you can view your complete bank statement corresponding to your chosen period.
  • Next, you can click on the link that says ‘Download Statement (PDF).' You can see this link at the top of the statement.
  • Select ‘Open when prompted.'
  • Your bank statement will promptly download, and you can open it as a PDF file.

You can then easily print this PDF  file.

The following is a picture of a bank statement issued by PNC Bank.

pnc bank ststement DETAILS

Fake Bank Statement

You can identify fake bank statements by confirming the statement's authenticity with your bank, closely examining actual documents, and asking your bank for original documents.

Some individuals try to commit fraud by using counterfeit bank statements to cover up theft or embezzlement, whereas others generate fake bank statements when they apply for a loan.

If you have any doubts about your bank statement's authenticity, you must confirm its accuracy with the bank that issued it.

Usually, bank statements include identifiable markings that counterfeiters may overlook. Bank statements printed on a computer are particularly suspicious since an individual committing fraud may have deleted or altered entries.

Computer-generated bank statements should be closely examined for print quality, typeface, or color inconsistencies.

Conclusion

Your bank statement is a vital tool that allows you to control your savings and checking accounts completely. If you do not have a habit of reviewing your bank statement regularly already, you should start now.

Adopting this practice helps you ensure you know where your money is going.

FAQs

ACH refers to Automated Clearing House. This is an electronic financial transaction electronic network.

In the U.S, ACH processes credit and debit transactions including vendor payments, direct deposits and payroll payments.

If you’ve opted to receive your tax refund via direct deposit, it will appear on your statement with the company name of IRS TREAS and a reference number.

If you find a mistake on your bank statement, contact your bank with the details immediately. You can file a dispute for errors and the bank representative will guide you through the process.

POD refers to Payable on Death. It indicates who will be the beneficiary of the account should anything happen to you.

Each transaction for the OnlyFans website will appear on your bank statement with OnlyFans or some variation of OF as the merchant details.

Your routing number is a 9-digit number that you’ll see printed near your bank account number at the top of your bank statement.

Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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