What Is a Bank Statement?

Reviewing your bank statements each month can help you track and manage your spending and expenses. Learn what you need to know about bank statements and how to use them to make smarter financial decisions.

A bank statement is a document that summarizes all the transactions that have take place in your bank account over a month. The bank statement records and tracks all your banking activities that way you can monitor the money that is coming in and out of your account.

It is important to review your bank statements so that you can understand your finances and catch issues or wrongful charges on your account. Find out how to obtain and read a bank statement, and why you should review yours every month.

How to Get a Bank Statement

Most banks and financial institutions issue new bank statements every month or every quarter. The statements will get sent to you through email or mail. It can be accessed online at anytime through your online banking account or mobile app. This statement can be downloaded, or you can call your bank to get the information you need regarding your bank statement.

How to Access Your Bank Statement Online

The process will vary depending on your bank, but you can follow the steps below to access your online bank statements:

  • Log in to your account through the bank’s website
  • Find the bank statement section on the website
  • Select the pay period of what you want to view
  • Review the statement and download it for your records
  • Log out of your account when all finished

How to Read a Bank Statement

Reading a bank statement is not difficult but does require you to understand the terms and information that is in the statement and why it matters when it comes to managing your finances.

In general, bank statements include the following information:

  • Total deposits: most bank statements group all deposits together, give you a total of everything that came into your account that month.
  • Total withdrawals: this is the withdrawal, purchases, transfers, and bank fees.
  • Balance summary: this section will include your account balance at the beginning of the month then show your ending account balance after all the deposits are added and the withdrawal are deducted.
  • Individual transactions: under the summary you will find a section that details very transaction during the statement period, along with dates, amounts, and payees.
  • Personal identifying information: this information will include your bank account number, name, and address.
  • Bank contact information: this includes the mailing address, phone numbers and website details for the bank’s customer service department.
  • Account type: This identifies the type of account, such as checking or savings.
  • Statement date: The date that marks the end of the statement period is typically located at the top of the document.

What Should I Do with My Bank Statement?

Bank statements are important for several reasons. Not only do they help you manage your spending and keep track of your finances, but they serve as a way to catch any mistakes with your account.

Here are the main things you should do with your bank statement:

Reconcile Your Account

When you reconcile your bank account, you are reviewing your bank statement to make sure that the information and transactions are correct. Reconciling your account can also help you avoid overdraft fees if your bank statement reveals that you have less money in your account then you thought you had. Contact the bank, credit union or financial institution right away if you see a mistake.

Review Your Spending and Saving Habits

Review your bank statement to check for errors and gauge your spending for the month and keep track of your savings. Notice how much you are spending versus how much you are saving and note where the majority of your money is going.

File for Your Records

File it and put it in a safe place for your records. You might need to reference it when you file your tax return.