Always check your bank statements

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J45
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Always check your bank statements

Post by J45 »

Just wanted to create awareness

I rarely look at my bank statements. Now days with technology, you can look at your accounts 20 times/day, so I never felt the need to do so.

By mistake, yesterday I looked at my Citi statements and found that they have been showing my balances wrong by 25 grand every month for last 12 months. I am not missing anything from my account but I thought I should make everyone aware.

By the way, it was specifically with CDs as they just forgot to add a CD into the list. A little technical issue
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cheese_breath
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by cheese_breath »

Not just bank statements. Always check all statements. There's a reason your banks, investment firms, cc companies, utilities, etc. send them to you.
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runner3081
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by runner3081 »

I check CC and bank accounts daily online. Very quick to do.
Blue456
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Blue456 »

One of the reason I try to have very few opened financial accounts.
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Stinky
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Stinky »

runner3081 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:45 am I check CC and bank accounts daily online. Very quick to do.
Ditto.

And I reconcile the accounts back to my records.
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egrets
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by egrets »

J45 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:30 am Just wanted to create awareness

I rarely look at my bank statements. Now days with technology, you can look at your accounts 20 times/day, so I never felt the need to do so.

By mistake, yesterday I looked at my Citi statements and found that they have been showing my balances wrong by 25 grand every month for last 12 months. I am not missing anything from my account but I thought I should make everyone aware.

By the way, it was specifically with CDs as they just forgot to add a CD into the list. A little technical issue
I don't understand this, the $25 grand was in the online data but not in the paper data?
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LadyGeek
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (bank statements).
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jerrysmith
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by jerrysmith »

I don't check monthly bank statements (E-Statements from my credit union) but I use YNAB for budgeting so I reconcile pretty much daily, minimum of every week day and occasionally on weekends.
RJC
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by RJC »

I think it's always good to check your bank and credit card balances daily. I only have one of each so it's relatively easy.

For the rest of my accounts, I check monthly to see how we are doing.
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Harry Livermore
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Harry Livermore »

Stinky wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:03 pm
Ditto.

And I reconcile the accounts back to my records.
Yes. Don't just "glance" or "take a quick look".
I was "shamed" on another thread recently for advocating balancing your checkbook every month.
:?
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cheese_breath
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by cheese_breath »

Harry Livermore wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:13 pm
Stinky wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:03 pm
Ditto.

And I reconcile the accounts back to my records.
Yes. Don't just "glance" or "take a quick look".
I was "shamed" on another thread recently for advocating balancing your checkbook every month.
:?
Cheers
Not by me. I verify every line on my bank statements against my own records.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
Ron
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Ron »

Trust but verify...

- Ron (as attributed by another Ron) :mrgreen:
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galawdawg
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by galawdawg »

cheese_breath wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:16 pm
Harry Livermore wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:13 pm
Stinky wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:03 pm
Ditto.

And I reconcile the accounts back to my records.
Yes. Don't just "glance" or "take a quick look".
I was "shamed" on another thread recently for advocating balancing your checkbook every month.
:?
Cheers
Not by me. I verify every line on my bank statements against my own records.
Yep. While the OP has good intentions in starting this thread, I agree that the even better reminder is to always RECONCILE your statements (bank accounts, credit cards, and brokerage accounts). Reconciliation is the process where you discover errors, either in your own recording of the transaction, or an error by your financial institution.

And as to each of these various types of accounts, there are specific deadlines and procedures established by statute and regulation which govern how errors are reported and resolved. This forum is replete with instances where someone discovers an error (unauthorized charges, improper crediting of a deposit, incorrect fees) but because they neglected to reconcile their statements and catch the error in time, they have lost any legal recourse they have to resolve the issue.

And despite OP's post and the reminders that some of us post in those "I found an error on my bank statement from a year ago..." threads, most who do not now reconcile their account statements will continue to neglect that area of their financial affairs. Sometimes people just have to learn the hard way... :oops:
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by jebmke »

runner3081 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:45 am I check CC and bank accounts daily online. Very quick to do.
Typically, statements are issued monthly.

The online data is useful for monitoring transactions but as far as I know, isn't official. In fact, with Vanguard, the daily reported data is often either wrong or incomplete.
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HueyLD
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by HueyLD »

J45 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:30 am Just wanted to create awareness

I rarely look at my bank statements. Now days with technology, you can look at your accounts 20 times/day, so I never felt the need to do so.

By mistake, yesterday I looked at my Citi statements and found that they have been showing my balances wrong by 25 grand every month for last 12 months. I am not missing anything from my account but I thought I should make everyone aware.

By the way, it was specifically with CDs as they just forgot to add a CD into the list. A little technical issue
Does the CD left out of the statements have a different owner? For example, all your accounts are owned by your trust and the CD in question is owned outside of the trust?
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lthenderson
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by lthenderson »

I reconcile all my accounts monthly. For the day to day stuff, I just set limits where I will be notified if gone over just to prevent things from getting out of control should an account be compromised.
neilpilot
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by neilpilot »

Last week my DW had the atm take back a withdrawal before she could retrieve the cash. So she immediately went into the back, withdrew the same amount inside the branch, and was told the atm withdrawal would be reversed. She never mentioned the occurrence to me, and she never checks bank transactions- that’s my job. :D

A week later I checked online, noticed a duplicate $360 withdrawal, and then had to call the bank to initiate the credit that they failed to record last week.
Katietsu
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Katietsu »

Not arguing with the premise to keep track of your bank balances. But I am not sure there was a problem with the OP’s statements. I have occasionally had CD’s at my brick and mortar bank when they had good promos. I never had those CDs listed on my monthly statements. And I have just received an annual separate statement for the CD.
J295
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by J295 »

One different data point....

We don’t reconcile.

Look online at credit card statements monthly before paying. Looking for things I don’t recognize.

Rarely write checks and don’t keep up on checking balance — just keep a cushion to pay bills. Cushion around $10k so if something was way out of whack there’s a good chance I’d notice. Most bills on autopay.

Do track deposits and transfers and refunds/returns to confirm they hit account.

Spend less than an hour once a month to handle bills and update investments.

Certainly a “risk” that those who reconcile don’t experience and that’s ok with us. You all are “safer.”

Retired.

Although this thread may cause me to look at checking account quarterly to see if anything jumps out.

Understand ymmv
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Watty
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Watty »

J295 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:42 pm Although this thread may cause me to look at checking account quarterly to see if anything jumps out.
A potential problem with this is that you only have 30, 60, or 90 days of the statement to report any errors and get them corrected. After that the bank can decline to fix it. The length of time may depend on if you are dealing with a bank, credit union, brokerage, etc and the type of error.
otinkyad
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by otinkyad »

I’m a glancer. I balanced my accounts monthly for 20 years, and all of the errors I found were in my own tracking. I pay more attention to places where there’s more money, and if there is a problem I miss, I’m likely to have saved enough time to be OK with that. The frequent transaction places (credit card and checking) don’t have enough money to be worth the time, and the high value places (investments) don’t have many transactions, so they don’t take much time.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by SmileyFace »

Not sure why you think the missing CD on your statement was really an issue that means you should check your account statements if it was in your account?? I thought I was going to finally have a post to read where a real banking error occured.

After 20+ years of reconciling statements and NEVER finding an error (other than my own math error) I stopped doing that several years ago. Recently I also stopped downloading and glancing at my monthly statements. I check online and if everything looks correct - I fail to see the need to look at your statement. (The ONLY error I ever found in a statement was once a CD listed the wrong APR - BUT the account was actually doing everything correctly - it was just a print error of some sort - I had it corrected but it didn't really matter actually similar to the OPs alert here).
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SmileyFace
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by SmileyFace »

jebmke wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:44 pm In fact, with Vanguard, the daily reported data is often either wrong or incomplete.
I have NEVER seen this with Vanguard. My online data is always accurate and complete. I am still on their Mutual Fund platform - maybe there are problems with the Brokerage platform.
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

DaftInvestor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:21 pm
jebmke wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:44 pm In fact, with Vanguard, the daily reported data is often either wrong or incomplete.
I have NEVER seen this with Vanguard. My online data is always accurate and complete. I am still on their Mutual Fund platform - maybe there are problems with the Brokerage platform.
Nope! Been there (brokerage platform) for years, never a problem.

Perhaps clients don't know that different type accounts are updated at different times. I know our annuity and 529 plans are updated after our TIRAs and Roths. Right now our VA and 529 plans show data as of 10/07/2020.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by BolderBoy »

Another reason to read your statement is that banks/CUs/etc may change the terms and conditions of your banking agreement by posting changes to them on your statements.
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shyturtle
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by shyturtle »

DaftInvestor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:18 pm I thought I was going to finally have a post to read where a real banking error occured.
I'm also a glancer, but I did have a real banking error that illustrated the importance of those glances. About 10 years ago I had a surprise $2,000 withdrawal from my checking account. The withdrawal triggered an overdraft protection and email from my credit union. It turns out the bank had cashed a check from the wrong account. The account number on the check was one digit different from mine, I think a 5 vs. a 9. I called (on a Saturday) and it was corrected right away with apologies. We have continued to use the credit union after moving away from the area due to excellent service and online banking, even though they did make a pretty extreme banking mistake.
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by iamblessed »

Blue456 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:47 am One of the reason I try to have very few opened financial accounts.
Me to. I only have two credit cards for this reason. How many financial accounts do you have?
J295
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by J295 »

BolderBoy wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:06 pm Another reason to read your statement is that banks/CUs/etc may change the terms and conditions of your banking agreement by posting changes to them on your statements.

I’m sure you are correct, but I have no interest in reading the original agreements or any changes. I know they are as one sided in the bank’s favor as the law may permit, and I know I have some legal protections that limit how far the bank can reach.
Invest4lt
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Invest4lt »

DaftInvestor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:18 pm Not sure why you think the missing CD on your statement was really an issue that means you should check your account statements if it was in your account?? I thought I was going to finally have a post to read where a real banking error occured.

After 20+ years of reconciling statements and NEVER finding an error (other than my own math error) I stopped doing that several years ago. Recently I also stopped downloading and glancing at my monthly statements. I check online and if everything looks correct - I fail to see the need to look at your statement. (The ONLY error I ever found in a statement was once a CD listed the wrong APR - BUT the account was actually doing everything correctly - it was just a print error of some sort - I had it corrected but it didn't really matter actually similar to the OPs alert here).
+1 Sounds like the issue is that a cd wasn’t grouped into your statement? That seems like a different issue with an incomplete view of your accounts in a single statement. It wasn’t an error with a particular account. I have several banking relationships that don’t group my accounts into a single statement but the online views are correct.
Invest4lt
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Invest4lt »

Duplicate
Blue456
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Blue456 »

iamblessed wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:43 pm
Blue456 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:47 am One of the reason I try to have very few opened financial accounts.
Me to. I only have two credit cards for this reason. How many financial accounts do you have?
Too many still and I think compared to you I look like a hoarder. I have 3 credit cards with Bank of America, 2 credit cards with US bank, 1 credit card with Apple, 1 credit card with Chase. Checking accounts I am much more limited, 1 joint account, 2 personal accounts. Brokerage just one with Vanguard.

I am having hard time consolidating because BofA has my oldest credit cards, US bank has 5% on utilities card which I love to use and Chase is a joint account.
minimalistmarc
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by minimalistmarc »

Doesn’t everybody do online banking these days? You can look at your statement every day
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galawdawg
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by galawdawg »

Unfortunately, not examining his 2020 401k statements until recently may have cost this Boglehead hundreds of dollars...viewtopic.php?f=2&t=327353&p=5538297#p5538297

Just a very recent example that mistakes do happen and if you don't find them quickly, there may be adverse financial consequences.
tibbitts
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by tibbitts »

I confess I never reconcile my bank statement as long as it "looks okay." Of course if I transfer in/out a large amount for a payment, like estimated tax, I would verify it was correct, but not with the usual $2-3k-ish balance and tiny transactions. I do maybe 30-40 transactions a month between auto and manual pay but all small amounts normally. I don't have other accounts besides the checking account at my bank.

I check my Vanguard account almost daily when I have internet access. It still has the aggregation service, so I can glance at my bank and other accounts and check for any significant unexpected changes.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by UpperNwGuy »

minimalistmarc wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:39 am Doesn’t everybody do online banking these days? You can look at your statement every day
This isn't true. You can look at an online display of your data every day, but that display is not a legal document. The printed monthly statement is the legal document. Hopefully (and usually) it's based on the same data as the online screen display, but there are those rare instances when it isn't.
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grabiner
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by grabiner »

I have caught several errors by checking statements. I had one deposit that was not mine erroneously credited to my account (and given the time it took to fix, involving transatlantic mail, I don't think the person who made the deposit had checked her statement). I have also had one check clear twice (once physically and once electronically), and one check clear for the wrong amount.

I use Quicken, but I enter everything by hand rather than downloading, and reconcile from the monthly statement. This allows me to find errors, and then determine the source of the error, which may be my error, the bank's error, or something else. (An example of "something else": I have the full balance of my credit card automatically withdrawn. If I charged $1000, but a return for $20 posted after the statement date, the full balance withdrawn will be $980.)
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mptfan
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by mptfan »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:31 am You can look at an online display of your data every day, but that display is not a legal document.
I'm not saying you are wrong, but what is the source of this statement? Why do you think that the monthly statement is a legal document whereas the online display of your account information is not? Of course I am assuming that the online display can be printed or saved.
Kruser64
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Re: Always check your bank statements

Post by Kruser64 »

I have not checked my bank statements in decades. Switched to paperless as soon as it was available and I ignore them. Do check online at least once a week which is easy. 0.5% of my net worth is at my bank. Zzzzz. For the brokerage accounts, where the real $$ are, I do download and keep an annual statement "just in case".

I'm in the camp of life is too short to budget and reconcile every nickel.
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