Katie Stiner

Regularly monitor your transaction account to take charge of your finances.

Keep a close eye on your bank account activities because you can maximize the benefits offered by a transaction account, prevent possible fraud or errors, and minimize account fees.

Monitoring transaction account activities has become easier with technological improvements.

Online and mobile banking has allowed users to remotely monitor their accounts while minimizing costs.

Benefits of monitoring your transaction account

While regularly monitoring your transaction account may seem demanding, especially with a busy schedule, the benefits are enormous. Here are the most important reasons to periodically monitor your transaction account.

1. Catching fraudulent activities

Among the scams reported to Scamwatch, identity theft contributed to a loss of about $4 million in 2019. Identity theft was the third-most-common scam in 2019.

Most of the time, a thief may make small test purchases after obtaining your debit card and will make larger purchases if the test is successful.

Debit card fraud protection isn’t as strong as credit cards, so it’s important to immediately report any suspicious behaviour on your account.

Monitoring your bank transactions is an important part of protecting against identity theft, alongside protecting your information. One method of protection to help lower the chances of fraud is to use IDCare. Here you will find resources to learn how to prevent identity theft and free practical support if you experience any scams or frauds.

When unauthorized transactions take place on your cards, you are likely to get your money back if you tell the bank about an unauthorized transaction or a stolen card in a reasonable amount of time.

But if the bank thinks you took too long to report fraudulent activity, it will be less likely to help you, and recovering your money can become a hassle. Regularly monitoring your account can help you report suspicious activity in time.

2. Watching for excessive or hidden fees

Some banks have incredibly high fees, such as an overdraft or returned payment fees.

For instance, after depositing a check, most people assume the funds are immediately in their accounts. They then pay bills and make purchases using their debit cards.

If a check ends up delaying for about five days before being cleared, all the payments and purchases are posted as an overdraft.  Each will incur substantial fees and more charges if the negative balance is not settled.

Looking over your account balance to make sure the check has been posted before making any transaction is an easy way to avoid overdraft charges.

Overdraft interest rates are also typically high, so if you don’t monitor how your transaction account is charged, you could end up paying massive amounts in fees and interest.

Other fees to pay attention may include:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Minimum balance fees
  • Balance inquiry fees
  • ATM fees, including out-of-network ATM fees
  • Paper statement fees

These can translate to a substantial amount when accumulated with other accounts held by the same person. Spotting these fees earlier through regular monitoring can help save some amount at the end of the year.

3. Better managing your financial life

According to research by MLC, 46% of Australians are living from paycheque to paycheque. Another survey findings suggested that almost 20% of Australians did not have a budget in the six months before the survey.

By watching your account balance, you can maintain some extra cash in your account as an emergency fund. You can also track your spending and identify areas to cut back expenses and save better.

How often to monitor your transaction account?

There is no general frequency to monitor your account – what may be enough for one account holder may not be enough for another holder. But monitoring your account once a month is not enough to protect you from fraud, fees, or aligning your finances.

Start by logging into your account once or twice weekly. Within no time, you will be logging into your bank account to monitor debits or credits posted daily. It’s about building a habit.

When reviewing your account, look for unrecognized transactions. Also, confirm if your deposits, mainly through checks, have been posted. Take a look at your recent purchases to confirm expenses and any other fees.

Check your information, your email, and phone numbers to make sure they are up to date. Use a unique password and change it regularly to lock out thieves.

Here are some tips to easily monitor your transaction account:

1. Access your account information online

Logging into your account is the most basic way to monitor your account. You can easily view your balance as well as all your transactions.

If you are too busy or you forget to log into your account daily, you can use a more automated approach that will make it easy for you to monitor your account.

One example is adding notifications to your calendar to remind you.

2. Use an app that monitors account activities

Most banks have mobile applications or have designed their websites for mobile users to view their account activities easily.

If your bank app is not what you want, get a third-party mobile budgeting app such as Pocketbook. This app is usually handy as you can link multiple transaction accounts, savings accounts, and credit card accounts to the same app. You can monitor all your account transactions easily.

3. Set up alerts

If manually monitoring your transaction account is difficult, you can sign up for alerts, and your bank will be pushing information when activity happens in your account.

You will be receiving text or email for every withdrawal, deposit, returned payment, low account balance, and so much more. With alerts, it is easier to monitor your account since you will be waiting to hear from your bank in case of activity.

4. Review online or paper statements

Regularly going through your online account statement can help identify unusual trends that may be fraudulent. You may also find errors committed and correct them early with your bank. You may sign up to receive paper statements. Most banks, however, charge a fee for the paper statement.

5. Contact your bank by phone

Give your bank a call if you need an update on your account balance or clarification on some account activities. Banks will have an automated system to answer your account balance queries. You will need to speak with a representative for other reasons concerning your account. Call your bank during working hours to talk with a person.

6. Check your account at an ATM

ATMs provide accurate account balance information. You should know how to differentiate between the total account balance and the available balance, which will be displayed in your ATM.

The total account balance is the total amount in your account before any pending transaction. In contrast, the available balance is the amount you can withdraw or spend right away and includes pending transactions. The transactions that are delayed will include withdrawals and deposits into the account.

Also, to avoid ATM fees, use your bank’s ATM instead of out-of-network machines because they usually charge a fee when you check your account balance.

7. Talk to a teller

If you’re a client at a brick-and-mortar bank, you can speak to the bank teller concerning your account. Most banks discourage personal visits and even charge a fee to access personal services. Credit unions with shared branching networks have thousands of branches and will readily offer personal assistance to their account holders.

It is best to access your account using the self-service methods described. You will be more save time by monitoring your account on the internet instead of visiting your branch.

Final thoughts

Monitoring your account will help reduce the chances of fraud and stay ahead of your finances.

Take advantage of automated methods like mobile apps and alerts that will help you have all your account information at your fingertips.

What do you think is the best way to monitor a transaction account? Which method are you using to monitor yours?

Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Related post