Keeping your checking account balanced is important because it enables you to maintain your account at your financial institution. Follow these tips to help you manage your accounts.
Rejected or Bounced Checks
If you write a check for more than is in your account, the check will be rejected when it is presented. It will be returned to the depositor and you will be charged for “bouncing” it. The depositor will not only be charged a returned check fee, but the law enables the merchant to charge you for up to three times the amount of the check. Do not write a check before you make a deposit, counting on the “float” time. With the electronic nature of banking, a check can clear the financial institution the same day you write it.
Many financial institutions will offer you overdraft protection which simply links a line of credit or savings account to your checking account. In the event a check clears and you do not have the funds to cover it, the overdraft protection will transfer available funds to cover your items from a linked account. There may be a fee charged for this service. In addition to Overdraft Protection, MHV’s No Bounce Courtesy Pay can cover the expense for you until your funds are available by automatically covering purchases made by check and automatic withdrawals (ACH); you can opt in to have debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals covered as well.
Online Account Access
Many financial institutions offer account access via online and mobile banking app. This service is a convenient way to keep track of your transactions. The ability to transfer funds, receive and pay bills, place a stop payment on a check, and downloadable financial management software are also commonly available online services and all help you to effectively manage your checking account and keep it up to date.
Another option for managing your checking account is by keeping track of your deposits, checks you write, debit card purchases, ATM withdrawals, and fees in a check register. Record the following information for checks you write:
• Check number (this alerts you if a check is missing in sequence)
• Date you wrote the check or made the deposit
• Who you wrote the check to
• What you wrote the check for
• The amount of the check
Balancing Your Bank Statement
Each month your financial institution will provide you a statement detailing the activity in your account. This includes all the checks you wrote, ATM withdrawals, deposits, debit card charges, fees and any other activity on your account during the month. It is important that you carefully review this statement to make sure it agrees with your records.
My Money Trail
Within MHV’s Online Banking and Mobile App, members have access to a software named My Money Trail. Here, you can get a full financial picture by linking all of your accounts (loans, accounts and information from MHV and other financial institutions) in one place to track what you earn and spend. Plus, it is categorized, graphed and charted to view easily. Other features include tracking goals, creating budgets, tracking your net worth, managing your debts, and receiving text and email alerts.
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