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Managing a checking account

 

Checking Account Management

Managing a checking account requires regular care and maintenance to ensure that it is doing all that you need it to do.  With time and practice, the habit of maintaining your checking account will be as automatic as brushing your teeth.

The first step in managing your checking account is watching what’s going in and what’s coming out.  Years ago that was simpler – you deposited your weekly paycheck in person with the bank teller and withdrew a weeks’ worth of cash for expenses.  Today with direct deposit, auto transfer, and automatic bill pay, there are more transactions to keep track of. And with so many transactions in and out of your checking account, there are more opportunities to overdraw it. Monitoring your account on a regular basis is the best way to avoid fees.

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Use a paper-based check register. Using a check register allows you to keep track of everything coming in and going out of your checking account. You will use the register to record every deposit made into your account.  This is the money you have to use.  You will also record every check you write as well as every debit transaction, ATM withdrawal, or automatic payment you have made out of the account.  Doing so should provide you with an accurate account balance.  Be sure to include any fees that you incur:  out-of-network ATM fees, overdraft fees, account maintenance fees, and others.
  2. Use online banking. You can use online banking tools to monitor the transactions - both deposits and withdrawls - your financial institution posts to your account. You will need to create an online account on the bank's website in order to view your account information online.  You can also keep an electronic register using your computer or a mobile app to make sure the information the bank or credit union is posting is accurate. Keep in mind that you should never look at your banking information on a public computer or using insecure wireless Internet connections.

TOOLS TO HELP

Keeping a Healthy Checking Account

A checklist to help you manage your checking account

Download

Using Online Tools to Manage Your Checking Account

A list of the online tools that can help you manage your money

Learn More

Smart Debit Card Use

Tips to help you make the most of your debit card

Learn More

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WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW

Here are some things you can do to make those big changes happen today, next week, and during the next few months.
  • Today
  • Get in the habit of checking your checking account. If you keep a check register, maintain a running balance or use the bank’s online tools to make sure that you have sufficient funds to cover upcoming spending.
  • Next Week
  • Familiarize yourself with the online banking tools available for your account. If you have never used these tools before, staff at the bank or credit union will show you how they work.
  • During the Next Few Months
  • Use your debit card wisely to receive the highest levels of consumer protection.