There are several quick and easy ways to check your account balance. The most common methods include using online banking, mobile banking apps, ATMs, calling your bank, and visiting a branch. Checking your balance regularly is an important part of managing your finances responsibly.
Check Balance Online
One of the fastest ways to check your account balance is by logging into your bank’s online banking website. Most banks and credit unions offer free online banking services that allow you to view real-time balances and transactions. Follow these steps:
- Go to your bank’s website and find the link for online banking login.
- Enter your access credentials (usually account number and password or pin).
- Once logged in, find and select “Account Balances”.
- Your current available balance for each account will be displayed.
Some online banking sites may also show pending transactions that can help explain differences between your running and current balances. Online banking gives you 24/7 access to monitor account activity and balances from your computer or mobile device.
Use Mobile Banking Apps
Mobile banking has become a popular and convenient way to manage bank accounts on the go. Most major banks offer free mobile apps that allow you to check balances, transfer funds, deposit checks and more. Follow these steps to check your balance on a mobile app:
- Download your bank’s official app from your device’s app store.
- Log in using your online banking credentials.
- The main app menu will display your current account balances automatically.
- Tap on an account to see further balance details and transactions.
Mobile apps also typically allow you to set up account alerts for when your balance drops below a certain threshold. Having your account information at your fingertips via mobile app makes it easy to monitor your finances from anywhere.
Use an ATM
ATMs are a convenient way to check account balances and withdraw cash. Just look for an ATM with your bank’s name or logo and follow these steps:
- Insert your debit or ATM card into the machine.
- Enter your PIN when prompted.
- Select “Check Balance” from the transaction options.
- Your account balance will display on screen.
Some ATMs may show balances for multiple accounts linked to your card. Bank-branded ATMs typically provide balance information at no charge, while out-of-network ATMs may charge a small fee. ATMs are widely available 24/7 and can display balances even during network outages.
Call Your Bank
Calling your bank’s customer service line over the phone is another reliable way to check your latest balance information. Have your account number ready and call during regular business hours. Some banks also have automated phone systems that can provide your current balance 24/7 without having to speak to a representative.
Here’s how to check your balance by phone:
- Call your bank’s customer service phone number.
- Enter your account number using your phone keypad when prompted.
- Either speak to a representative or navigate the automated system to request your account balance.
- Your current and available balance should be stated over the phone.
Calling the bank directly can provide the most accurate real-time information if you need to resolve a discrepancy or balance inquiry. Just be aware that wait times to speak to a representative may be longer during peak hours.
Visit a Branch
For an in-person balance inquiry, you can visit your nearest bank branch location during business hours. Let a teller know you would like to check your account balance. Have your ID card and account information ready.
Here are the steps for checking your balance at a branch:
- Gather your ID, account number and any other relevant information.
- Go to a branch location during open hours.
- Ask a teller for your current account balance.
- They will verify your ID and account, then provide your balance.
Speaking to a real person can provide personalized service if you have any concerns or questions. Visiting a branch may make more sense if you need to make a cash deposit or withdrawal while checking balances. Just keep in mind that branch hours are generally more limited than automated options.
Monitor Transactions Closely
The best way to stay on top of your most up-to-date balance is by monitoring account activity and transactions closely each day. Update your balances in your checkbook register or budget spreadsheet every time you make a purchase. Reviewing your transaction history frequently can reveal discrepancies and issues right away.
Here are some tips for tracking transactions:
- Log and update all transactions in your account register.
- Note recurring payments you may have forgotten about.
- Don’t forget pending charges that may affect your balance.
- Reconcile your checkbook weekly with online account history.
- Set up transaction alerts via email or text message.
Getting in the habit of recording every transaction when it happens can prevent overdrafts and fees caused by a lower-than-expected balance. Following your money closely takes a bit more effort but pays off through better informed spending and money management.
Consider Interest Rates
With savings accounts and CDs, your account balances earn interest over time. The annual percentage yield (APY) determines how much interest you’ll accrue based on your average daily balance. This is why checking your savings balance regularly matters – a higher balance will earn more interest.
Be sure to understand how your interest accrues:
- Interest compounds based on your account terms.
- Savings interest is usually compounded daily.
- CD interest may compound monthly, quarterly or annually.
- Higher opening and ongoing balances will earn the most interest.
Checking balances more often can help you optimize interest earnings if you notice your balance trending lower. Moving funds from checking to savings as able can maximize your returns.
Set Up Alerts
For automated notifications every time your balance changes, consider setting up account alerts through your bank. You can choose to be notified by:
- Email – get alert messages sent to your email inbox.
- Text message – receive SMS text alerts on your mobile phone.
- Push notification – alerts will show up directly on your phone’s lock screen.
- Phone call – your bank can call your phone number with balance information.
Alerts can be sent when:
- Your balance goes below a threshold, such as $100.
- A large transaction or payment posts to your account.
- Deposits or withdrawals are made.
Customizing alerts keeps you informed of account activity so you can stay on top of balances in real-time. Being notified immediately can help you address fraudulent transactions or errors right away as well.
Link to Budgeting App
For digital tracking and budget management, consider linking your bank account information to a budgeting app like Mint or EveryDollar. This gives the app access to your latest balance data to incorporate into your expense tracking and net worth calculations.
The key steps for linking accounts are:
- Select the “add account” option in your budget app.
- Search for and select your financial institution.
- Log in using your online banking credentials.
- Accept the Terms and Conditions.
Now your balances will automatically populate within your budget – no more manual entry required. Watching your balances decrease with each expense can help you stick to your spending goals and track your overall financial situation.
Avoid Excess Fees
One motivation for regularly checking your bank account balance is to avoid overdraft and insufficient funds fees. These fees typically range from $30 – $35 each time a transaction exceeds your current balance.
Some tips for avoiding fees:
- Enroll in overdraft protection if offered. This links accounts or a line of credit to cover shortfalls.
- Set up account alerts for low balances.
- Submit payments a few days early in case of processing delays.
- Keep an emergency fund as cushion for unplanned expenses.
Monitoring your balance frequently enables you to proactively deposit funds if needed to keep a positive balance. This takes extra diligence but helps minimize costly fees that put your account into the negative.
Check on Multiple Accounts
Chances are you have more than one banking account to keep track of – checking, savings, money market, CDs and credit cards. It’s important to stay on top of all your various balances regularly. Doing so provides a complete snapshot of your overall finances.
Some tips for managing multiple accounts:
- Consolidate balances into your main checking and savings accounts.
- Try linking accounts within online or mobile banking for an integrated view.
- Jot down all critical account balances in a dedicated spot weekly.
- Don’t let unused accounts accrue fees – check balances quarterly.
Checking all your accounts frequently, not just your primary spending accounts, can reveal opportunities to earn higher returns or unnecessary fees to cut. Having the full picture helps optimize your money management across accounts.
Compare Balance vs. Income
One way to gain useful perspective on your account balance is to compare it against your regular income amount. This ratio illustrates your ability to pay ongoing expenses from current funds.
To determine your balance-to-income ratio:
- Add up balances from checking, savings and easily accessed accounts.
- Divide your total balances by your post-tax monthly or annual income.
General benchmarks for a healthy ratio:
- 3-6 months’ worth of income saved provides good emergency cushion.
- 6-12 months’ income saved brings increased stability and options.
- Over 1 year’s worth saved allows peace of mind plus flexibility.
A lower ratio indicates the need to spend less and save more each month. A higher ratio gives you more freedom to manage unexpected expenses and shifts in income streams.
Watch for Sudden Changes
While monitoring your balances routinely, it’s important to watch for any sudden decreases or increases. These could indicate:
- Fraudulent withdrawals or charges.
- Mistaken deposits or transfers.
- Unauthorized debits from an unrecognized source.
- Failure of an expected deposit or credit to post.
Noticing unusual changes right away lets you identify any discrepancies and alert your bank promptly. Always compare your current and available balances for insights. Report any suspicious transactions or problems to your financial institution immediately.
Know When Balance Updates
Understanding when your account balance officially updates during the day can prevent being surprised by changes when paying bills or making withdrawals.
Key facts on timing:
- Balances update overnight after all transactions post for the previous day.
- Deposits and transfers may be added immediately or take 1-3 business days to process.
- Checks, debit card and ATM transactions post same-day in most cases.
- Auto-payments, bills and fees deduct as scheduled.
- Weekend/holiday transactions may not show until the next business day.
The cut-off time for payments and purchases impacts when they affect your daily balance total. Being aware of processing differences allows more accurate planning and record-keeping.
For those needing extra help staying on top of variable or difficult-to-track balances, several account alternatives exist:
Many banks let you create a linked checking and savings package. When your checking balance runs low, funds automatically transfer from savings as overdraft protection. Minimum balance requirements and transfer fees vary.
Prepaid Debit Card
Prepaid cards allow only spending of pre-deposited funds. When the card balance hits zero, no overdrafts or negative balances exist. Convenient for those who struggle to track balances closely.
Secured Credit Card
Secured cards require an upfront security deposit that sets your spending limit. This can help limit overspending and balance-tracking difficulties.
Account Monitoring Services
Depending on your financial needs, certain account monitoring services offered by banks provide customized oversight and notification of activity and balances. This automated support may come with monthly fees.
Ask for Help
If you continue struggling to stay on top of your account balance, don’t hesitate to ask your financial institution for help. Many banks have financial advisors and money management resources. Explain your difficulties and discuss options tailored to your situation.
Here are some questions to ask your bank:
- Could you explain how pending charges and holds affect my balance?
- What daily/weekly/monthly balance notification options do you offer?
- How can I better track transactions between my accounts?
- What additional services exist for monitoring account activity?
- How do your overdraft protection services work?
With helpful tools, education and support from your banking provider, tracking and managing balances can become much less stressful over time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Make Balance Monitoring a Habit
Consistency and routine are key to effectively monitoring bank account balances. Rather than sporadically checking, build the task into your schedule on a set interval.
Try committing to:
- Checking balances every morning or evening.
- Reviewing transactions and balances weekly when paying bills.
- Updating your budget spreadsheet with new balances monthly.
- Calling the bank for an official balance check every quarter.
Balance tracking takes just minutes but should happen at regular intervals. Include it in your daily, weekly and monthly financial to dos. Over time, regularly monitoring balances will come naturally.
There are abundant options for keeping close tabs on checking and savings account balances in today’s technology-driven banking environment. Online, mobile and ATM access offer simple, anytime glimpses at your most current numbers. Setting balance notifications and linking accounts to budgeting platforms can provide automated tracking. More hands-on methods like recording transactions and calling your bank fill gaps as well. Combine multiple approaches for the most accurate ongoing view of your finances. With some effort dedicated to balance monitoring, you can avoid surprises and take control of your money.