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How to Balance a Checkbook


Nearly 40% of Americans rely on mobile banking to manage their money. If your bank offers online banking and/or mobile banking, balancing your checkbook may be as simple as logging in to your account. Any time you write a check, make a payment using your debit card, or initiate any other kind of debit or withdrawal, always record the transactions in your spending tracker or checkbook ledger.


The total from your calculations should come out to your current bank statement for the month. If you think a transaction is unauthorized or contains an error, look for instructions on your bank statement for how to get it corrected. Some of your most recent transactions might end up on your next month’s statement.

Next steps: Tips for remembering to balance your checkbook

Once you add back withdrawals or subtract deposits, your current balance and statement balance should be the same. If you use checks semi-regularly you’ll want to get into the habit of balancing your checkbook. This is the best way to make sure your record of transactions matches your bank statement. You can spot any discrepancies, alert your bank to possible fraud, and get a better idea of where your finances stand. As digital payments become more common, it’s easy to maintain a checking account without ever writing a check. Each time you enter in a new transaction, make sure to update your balance.

In addition to the standard personal check, types of checks include certified checks, cashier’s checks, and payroll checks, which are all used for different purposes. Credit and debit cards—and other forms of electronic payment—have since overshadowed checks as the dominant means of paying for most goods and services. Checks are generally written against a checking account, but they can also be used to move funds from a savings or other type of account. A check is a written, dated, and signed draft that directs a bank to pay a specific sum of money to the bearer.

They’re instructions for you bank

If you don’t balance your checkbook monthly, you might not even find the error in 60 days. Even more likely is the possibility that you made a math error in your checkbook register, which you’re unlikely to find unless you balance your checkbook each month. Keep track of your transactions in a register — a checkbook register, a notebook or a spreadsheet on your computer can all work equally well. This list should include your purchases, withdrawals, deposits and bank charges.

Checks can be used to make bill payments, as gifts, or to transfer sums between two people or entities. They are generally seen as a more secure way of transferring money than cash, especially with large sums. If a check is lost or stolen, a third party is not able to cash it, as the payee is the only one who can negotiate the check. If you don’t regularly write checks, balancing a checkbook may not be necessary. That Gomez, Gomez recommends reviewing your spending consistently through a spreadsheet or budgeting app, even if you don’t write physical checks. Now you’ll be able to compare your check register to your bank statement.

Understanding a Check and Balancing a Checkbook

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First, keeping a balanced checkbook means you know where your money is going each month and how much is coming in. More important, tracking your balance can help you whats a checkbook avoid the possibility of having an overdraft in your account. Considering that the average overdraft fee is around $35, it is better off avoided as much as possible.

The person or entity writing the check is known as the payor or drawer, while the person to whom the check is written is the payee. The drawee, on the other hand, is the bank on which the check is drawn. It’s true that fintech can make managing your money easier but there are still very good reasons to make balancing your checkbook part of your financial routine.

  • And look at transactions—not just your overall bank account, but your check transactions—on a regular basis to see if anything is amiss.
  • It’s useful for paying bills, depositing paychecks, sending money, and making purchases using a linked debit card.
  • If you use your checkbook, you’ll go line by line and either subtract or add each check.
  • The checks are usually preprinted with the account holder’s name, address, and other identifying information.
  • There are so many assets allowed in these accounts it would be impossible to list them all.