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How Often Should You Monitor Your Checking and Credit Card Accounts

How Often Should You Monitor Your Checking and Credit Card Accounts

Your financial life is very important. It is all too easy to hack into a bank or credit card and you risk losing both your money and your financial reputation. However, it is easy to get obsessive about your balances. So how often should you check your balances and why?

Checking Account

A monthly check-in is absolutely the minimum. You really should check ALL your accounts weekly. If you have irregular paychecks, daily is even better. Check where the money is going and how much you have left. There is not much more embarrassing than having your debit card declined and it will always happen at the worst possible time.

You are looking for withdrawals that you didn’t authorize. If you report fraudulent pending charges immediately, you are not liable for the purchases. If you report them within two days, you are liable for the first $50. Longer waits mean you are responsible for $500 or the full amount.

Check your charges for hidden fees. Banks love ATM fees and account maintenance fees. These can really add up. Other common fees include charge balance inquiry fees, foreign transaction fees, currency conversion fees, early account closure fees, minimum balance fees, returned check fees, paper statement fees, and over-the-limit withdrawal fees.

There are some great mobile apps out there, some associated with your specific bank and others are third party. You can also run a budget on some apps, so using one is definitely worthwhile.

What to Do If You Notice Unexpected Charges

If you suspect fraud, call your bank immediately. If you are getting hit with hidden fees, you may want to find a different financial institution like a credit union or online bank to avoid those fees.

Checking Your Credit Card Account

Like a checking account, monitor your credit card monthly at a minimum. Your credit card company is on the lookout for odd charges, but only you know where, when and how you’ve used your card. Make certain charges were posted correctly and that any automatic payments are for the correct amounts. Mistakes happen – an error processing a card can result in two exact same charges on the same day at the same restaurant.

If you are skating close to your account limit, checking regularly will keep you from accruing overcharges. Use a mobile app to track your charges so you can monitor that oh-so-easy swipe of the card.

What to Do If You Notice Unexpected Charges

As with your checking account, you are looking for fraudulent charges. A surprisingly high pending charge from a hotel might be nothing more than a charge for potential services that will be decreased when the card is processed.

If you find a posted charge that is either too high or unexpected, report it immediately.

Final Word

Taking time to monitor your accounts and credit cards weekly is a great habit to get into. The sooner you find inaccurate charges, the easier and cheaper they are to get reversed.

The more often you check your finances, the more aware you will be of what you are spending and to stick to your budget.