A bank statement is a document that details your bank account activity during a statement period. It includes your account information and lists all incoming and outgoing transactions over the last month. You’ll usually receive your bank statement on the same day each month, and you should review it as soon as possible to look for any fraud or errors.
If you aren’t already reviewing your bank statements, it’s time to start. Bank statements — whether they’re online or paper bank statements — hold a lot of significant information. Whenever you go over your monthly bank statement, it’s important that you know exactly what to look for. Let’s go over what a bank statement looks like and what you should do with it.
What is a bank statement?
A bank statement is a detailed summary of your account transactions over one month — otherwise known as a statement period or statement cycle. Your financial institution sends you this report on a set date every month so you can review your income, spending activity, savings, and account balances.
Each bank or credit union may structure its statements differently, but most statements include the same information. The following items constitute the details included on a typical bank statement, which we’ve broken up into general, account, and financial information.
While “general” is a little vague, this is the contact information for both the financial institution and account holder.
- Financial institution information. The top corner of a bank statement usually displays the name and logo of the issuing bank. Additional information may include the bank’s contact information, such as an address, a customer service phone number, and a website. Additionally, a bank statement often includes instructions for reporting fraudulent transactions, errors, or other concerns.
- Account holder information. This includes the bank account holder’s name and address. Account holder details are usually listed at the top of bank statements.
- Credit information. If the account is a credit card account, the bank statement may also list the minimum payment due, statement date, due date, credits and adjustments, credit limit, and payment options. Credit card statements are often called billing statements.
This includes information about the particular account the statement is summarizing.
- Account number. Also typically listed at the top of a bank statement, the account number identifies the specific bank account that the statement summarizes. Some bank statements also list the routing number associated with the account.
- Statement cycle. A bank statement must indicate the beginning and end dates of the statement. All transactions reported in the statement will have occurred within those dates.
- Balances. A typical bank statement lists the account balance at the start date of the statement period and the account balance at the end date of the statement period.
These are your daily transactions and deposits, all of the information tracking where your money went and when it came in.
- Deposits. The bank statement will summarize the total amount of all money added to the account during the statement cycle. Deposits may include direct deposits, electronic transfers, and earned interest. Bank statements may list this number under a different name, such as “payments in” or “credits.” Some bank statements list a separate summary of credits to the account, such as refunds or fee reversals.
- Interest earnings. Your bank statement may list your total interest earnings and the annual percentage yield (APY) during the statement period.
- Withdrawals. Your bank statement will list the total withdrawals from the account, including purchases, bill payments, and ATM withdrawals. Some bank statements list this number under a different name, such as “payments out” or “debits.”
- Fees. Bank statements may include a line item indicating the fees incurred over the statement cycle. Expenses may include overdraft fees, ATM fees, paper statement fees, and other bank fees.
- Transactions. This section typically takes up most of the space on a bank statement. The statement will list each transaction description, transaction date, and transaction amount. Transactions may include debit purchases, wire transfers in or out of the account, and automatic payments.
When do you need a bank statement?
Whether you want it or not, your financial institution will send you a bank statement every month. Bank statements are primarily helpful for keeping track of your account activity. In addition, they are applicable — and sometimes even required — for other purposes.
- Loans. Loan applications often require you to report bank statements to verify your income, balances, and account history. Once secured, some loans (like mortgages) come with their own statements.
- Taxes. Reviewing your bank statement at tax time can help you confirm your income and expenses over the past year.
- Divorce. During a divorce, you may have to supply bank statements to help split assets or settle child and spousal support.
- Visas. If you are traveling or moving out of the country, you may be required to obtain a visa. Some countries require you to submit bank statements with your visa application to ensure you can afford to live there.
- Financial aid. Educational financial aid providers, such as FAFSA, may require bank statements to document your aid eligibility.
- Medicare. Medicare requires participants to prove their eligibility for coverage. This may include providing bank statements as proof that you fall within the income and asset limits.
How to get a bank statement
Financial institutions typically deliver bank statements on the same day each month. Your bank will usually send an email notifying you that your new statement is ready for viewing. From there, you can log in to your online account to get your most recent statement.
Every financial institution’s website or mobile app is different, but it’s usually fairly easy to find your statements inside your account. To access new and past statements, log in and navigate to the “Statements” option. If you need help finding your bank statements, try using the website’s search function or contact customer service.
If you’re in a pinch and can’t access your bank statement online, you may be able to use your local ATM instead. Some banks offer the option to print transaction histories at ATMs within their network.
Note that a transaction history is not the same as a bank statement. Instead, it is basically a shorter summary of your bank statement. A transaction history lists transactions for whatever period you choose, with the maximum range being one month. ATM transaction histories may not include the most recent or pending transactions.
Paper vs. electronic bank statements
Most financial institutions deliver paperless electronic statements. However, account holders can still receive paper bank statements as well. If you opt to receive paper statements, check your mail for statements around the same time each month and save them for your records.
Many account holders prefer to receive bank statements online. This makes it easier to track spending habits and access past transactions.
Mobile banking apps are helpful because they can show you your financial activity in real time. For example, paper statements won’t show pending transactions from a statement cycle. In your banking app, you can keep up to date with your expenses and view transactions that have yet to clear in your account. Take a look at the accounts below for a better idea of what institutions offer mobile banking for their customers.
Bank statement dos and don’ts
Whether you’re new to reviewing bank statements or have been keeping good track of your monthly statements for a while, there are a few important dos and don’ts you should always remember. Follow these tips to keep your bank account safe and your finances secure:
Here is a list of what you should and shouldn’t do.
- Carefully review your bank statements every month. Although rare, fraud and mistakes do happen. Your monthly statement will reveal any discrepancies in your transactions. If possible, you should also check your transaction history frequently on your mobile app to identify potential fraud as soon as possible.
- Contact your bank’s customer service immediately if you notice any issues. If you find any errors on your bank statement, reach out to your bank within 60 days to resolve the issue. After all, you know your spending habits best, so a thorough review and prompt dispute could save you from trouble.
- Keep track of your spending habits. Bank statements are great tools for building budgets. You can see where your money is coming from and where it’s going. Make adjustments accordingly to best suit your financial goals.
- Throw away statements. You should keep any paper and electronic statements in a secure location for at least five years (the law requires banks to keep a record of your statements for at least five years as well). After that, you may toss your paper statements and delete your electronic statements. Remember to shred your paper documents first, as throwing away whole paper statements leaves you vulnerable to identity theft.
- Give out your account information. Only you and your closest trusted loved ones should have access to your account number, login credentials, and other sensitive account information. Keep your statements and personal information secure, and never give your information to unknown third parties.
What is a bank statement proof of?
Bank statements often serve as proof of funds or income. They demonstrate that you have the financial ability to make a payment or series of payments. Lease applications, loan applications, and visa applications are among the most common situations that require proof of funds.
How long does it take to get a bank statement?
You usually receive your bank statements automatically every month. If you want to access past statements, you can do so immediately through your online bank account. Paper statements may take a few days to arrive once requested and released.
Is a credit card statement a bank statement?
A credit card statement and a bank statement are not exactly the same. A credit card statement — also known as a billing statement — is similar to a bank statement, but it reports credit card account activity.
Are bank statements proof of address?
Yes, bank statements may serve as proof of address.
What are the most common transactions that appear on a bank statement?
The most common transactions that appear on bank statements are outgoing purchases and incoming direct deposits.
- Your bank statement is a monthly report of your bank account activity. It includes your account information, transaction history, and balances over one statement period.
- Bank statements are essential for reviewing your official transaction history to ensure there haven’t been any mistakes or fraudulent activities connected to your account.
- Bank statements are also useful as proof of income or funds when applying for a loan, financial aid, a visa, etc.
- You can go paperless by opting for electronic statements. Viewing current and past statements online through your bank’s website or mobile app is easy and secure, and going paperless may help you avoid paying a fee for paper statements.
Maintaining a healthy financial account
Reviewing your monthly bank statements is important for maintaining good financial health, but so is having a good bank account at a reliable bank or credit union.
Whether you’re interested in a checking account for everyday transactions or a high-yield interest-bearing account to build up your savings, SuperMoney can help you make the best personal finance decisions. Use our comparison tools now to find the best checking account or savings account for your needs.
View Article Sources
- How long must banks keep deposit account records? — HelpWithMyBank.gov
- Does my bank/credit union have to send me a monthly statement for my checking account? — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Is the bank required to send me a monthly statement on my checking or savings account? — HelpWithMyBank.gov
- Understanding Your Bank Statement — City Government of Saint Paul, Minnesota
- What Does Pending Payment Mean? — SuperMoney
- Where Is the Zip Code on a Debit Card? — SuperMoney
- Statement Date vs. Due Date: What is the Difference? — SuperMoney
- Does Medicare Check Your Bank Account? — SuperMoney
- Does FAFSA Check Your Bank Accounts For Eligibility — SuperMoney
- What Is a Mortgage Statement? — SuperMoney
- What is a Billing Statement? — SuperMoney
- First Bank Statement Savings — SuperMoney
- Exchange Bank Statement Savings — SuperMoney