This article is brought to you by Aura.
Watch the video to see how we protect you online.
This article is brought to you by Aura. Watch the video to see how we protect you online.
Start Free Trial
4.7 stars on Trustpilot
Close Button
What is Aura? (1:10)

How To Review Your Bank Account Statements Each Month

Regularly reviewing your bank statements is one of the best ways to maintain your financial health — and can help you spot the warning signs of fraud.

Regularly reviewing your bank statements is one of the best ways to maintain your financial health — and can help you spot the warning signs of fraud.

Illustration of a question mark casting a shadow in the shape of a dollar sign

Aura’s app keeps you safe from scams, fraud, and identity theft. Try Aura for free.

4.7 stars as of March 2024

In this article:

    In this article:

      See more

      Aura’s digital security app keeps your family safe from scams, fraud, and identity theft.

      See pricing
      Share this:

      Do You Need To Check Your Bank Statements Regularly?

      A bank statement is an official financial summary that lists all account transactions over a set period of time (usually one month). 

      Statements are available electronically or in paper form. Each typically includes your account information as well as transaction details — including deposits, withdrawals, fees, and interest earned. You’ll also see your account’s opening and closing balance for the statement period. 

      The critical thing to realize is that a statement isn’t just a record of your transactions — it is one of the few places where you can catch the early warning signs of fraud. 

      In September 2023, an Ohio woman spotted fraudulent charges on her credit card statement a few days after visiting Taco Bell, and police quickly realized an employee had skimmed the woman’s card details [*]. Unfortunately, she’s not alone — there were more than 230,000 victims of bank fraud in 2023 [*]. 

      In this guide, we’ll explain why it’s so important to review your bank statements each month — and how to examine them properly to protect your finances and identity. 

      {{show-toc}} 

      Why It’s Important To Review Your Bank Statements Each Month: 6 Reasons 

      Bank statements are powerful indicators of both your financial health and the safety of your accounts. As the account holder, you should review your statements to get a clear view of your spending habits, and to check for unauthorized account activity.

      Here are six reasons why you should make reviewing your bank statements a regular habit:

      • Set a budget, and manage your finances. A monthly check-in can help you see if you’re overspending or need to adjust your budget based on the money you have coming in and out of your accounts. 
      • Verify recent transactions. You can ensure that all of the charges on your statement are ones you recognize. You can protect yourself from identity theft by catching any banking errors or suspicious activity early.
      • Highlight recurring charges. Reviewing your statements helps you evaluate regular payments, like direct deposits. You might find subscriptions you no longer use, which you can cancel to save money.
      • Look for warning signs of potential fraud. Banks have fraud protection systems in place — but they’re not perfect. You most likely have a better idea of where you’ve spent your money and should be able to flag unauthorized transactions on your debit card. 
      • Grow your savings. Regularly looking at your statements can help you identify unnecessary expenses. Cutting costs can improve cash flow and add to your savings.
      • Verify (and potentially save on) bank fees. Bank statements often reveal charges you might not be aware of each month, like account or overdraft fees. Spotting these small costs can help you dispute charges you shouldn’t be paying (or find a bank with lower fees).
      🛡 Safeguard your finances with award-winning protection. Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution monitors your bank, investment, and credit accounts and warns you in near real-time of potential fraud. Try Aura free for 14 days and protect your identity and accounts from scammers.

      How To Review Your Bank Statements

      Getting your statements is the easy part — but many people aren’t sure how to properly examine their financial documents. Below, we’ve put together an actionable guide on how to keep tabs on your financial life:

      How to check your bank statements online

      You can check your monthly statements online by logging in to your credit union or bank's website or mobile app. Look for a menu option like Statements, Documents, or Account History. 

      Electronic statements (also known as e-statements) include details about account balances, transactions, fees, and interest earned. 

      The big difference compared to paper statements is that online statements are updated in real-time, which helps you keep a close watch for any unauthorized activity. 

      However, even if you have bank alerts turned on, you should review your online statements every week for smart budgeting and security purposes. 

      As you review your online bank statements, make sure to:

      • Check a specific period. To get a clearer picture of your financial activity, it's a good idea to check a specific statement, or filter your transactions so you only see the past month. 
      • Review all linked accounts (checking, savings, credit). It's easy to let some expenses slip through the cracks unless you do a comprehensive evaluation of all accounts in your name. By considering your entire financial picture, you can cross-reference accounts for specific periods and identify any discrepancies.
      • Set up alerts for unusual activity. Many banking apps offer an alert feature for specific types of transactions. When you enable alerts, you can instantly get notifications about large withdrawals or foreign transactions. This security can help you quickly detect and respond to fraudulent transactions or unauthorized use of your account.

      💡 Related: How To Protect Your Bank Account From Identity Theft

      How to check your paper statements

      Financial institutions typically issue paper bank statements by direct mail on a monthly basis. These statements provide a comprehensive overview of your financial transactions during the time frame — including deposits, withdrawals, fees, and interest earned.

      The main benefits of receiving paper statements is that you have a hard-copy record of your financial history. 

      Not only is this helpful when dealing with accountants, taxes, or small business ventures;many online banking platforms only show you a limited history — such as transactions spanning six, 12, or 18 months. 

      The flipside is that paper statements may be outdated compared to the online versions.

      As you review your paper bank statements, make sure to:

      • Check paper statements immediately. Given the time it takes for mail delivery, it's best to review your paper statements as soon as they arrive so that you can catch any bookkeeping issues early.
      • Manually reconcile your account. You can compare the official figures recorded on paper statements with your own records from receipts, checkbooks, and personal finance software. Use a highlighter to mark unfamiliar transactions, and query anything you don't agree with or recognize. 
      • File and organize statements. Keeping your paper statements organized will make them easy to access and refer to later. This practice is beneficial when you want to track your financial progress, prepare taxes, or lodge any disputes with your bank.

      💡 Related: How Does Debit Card Fraud Happen? Can You Avoid It?

      How to check your credit reports

      Your credit scores are a measure of your trustworthiness in the eyes of financial institutions, including loan companies, mortgage lenders, and credit card issuers. By monitoring your credit reports, you can track your scores and improve your standing ahead of major purchases like a new home or car.

      Unlike online bank statements, credit reports don't have real-time balances — instead, they give you a snapshot of your credit activity and score over time. 

      Prospective lenders also use your credit reports to review key details — such as payment histories, outstanding debts, and any inquiries made into your credit. 

      In the United States, you are entitled to one free credit report per week from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), which you can order from AnnualCreditReport.com

      As you review your credit reports, make sure to:

      • Verify personal information. Incorrect personal information can be a sign of mixed files or identity theft. Ensure that your name, address, Social Security number (SSN), and employment information are correct. 
      • Examine accounts and payment histories. Discrepancies here can significantly impact your credit score — especially significant debts or late payments. Look closely at the accounts listed to confirm they are yours and that the payment history and account statuses are accurate. 
      • Identify and dispute any inaccuracies. Left unchecked, errors or fraudulent activity on your file could damage your credit score and make it hard for you to secure legitimate lines of credit. If you find errors on any of your reports, file a dispute with the respective credit reporting agency. 

      💡 Related: How To Read a Credit Report (and Dispute Errors)

      How Often Should You Check Your Bank Statements and Accounts?

      The onus is on you to take responsibility for your financial life. With a more proactive attitude, you can combat fraud and develop the financially-savvy habits you need to build your savings and improve your credit

      Here’s a summary of how often you should review each of your financial account statements — and why you should make it a priority:

      Account:
      How often to review:
      Why?
      Checking account
      Weekly (online) or at least monthly (paper statements).
      It's essential to catch debit card fraud early to avoid being liable for losses. A weekly review of your online statement is generally a good rule of thumb.
      Savings account
      Monthly.
      Regular reviews help you track your savings progress and ensure that interest rates are applied correctly.
      Credit card
      Monthly (online) or upon receipt of the statement.
      Examining statements monthly helps you spot unauthorized charges. Also, you can ensure that you use credit wisely and make repayments on time to maintain a good credit score.
      Credit reports
      At least every quarter, especially before major purchases.
      Regular reviews of your credit reports from each of the three major bureaus can help identify errors or fraudulent accounts opened in your name. If you’re about to apply for a mortgage or loan, make sure your credit is in good health first.
      🤔 Pro tip: Sign up for transaction monitoring with fraud alerts. Aura’s all-in-one online safety app monitors your linked bank accounts, investments, and credit reports at all three bureaus to warn you in near real-time of potential fraud. You’ll also get access to 24/7 U.S.-based Fraud Resolution support and up to $5 million in insurance coverage against eligible losses and costs associated with identity theft and fraud. Try Aura free for 14 days.

      Did You Find Signs of Fraud on Your Bank Statement? Do This!

      If you think someone has gotten hold of your bank account number or you see signs that someone has fraudulently withdrawn money from your account, it’s time to act. The longer you wait, the more damage fraudsters can do to your finances and credit. 

      Here are nine steps to take:

      • Contact your bank’s fraud department immediately. As soon as you see any signs of fraud, call the number on the back of your bank card. Explain what happened, and ask the support representative to close your accounts and cards in order to protect your funds. You can order new cards and have them sent to a secure address.
      • Place a credit freeze with all three bureaus. You can prevent criminals from accessing your files or opening new accounts in your name by freezing your credit. You need to contact each bureau individually at the phone numbers listed below:
        • Equifax: 1-800-685-1111
        • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
        • TransUnion: 1-888-909-8872
      • Contact your insurance provider. If you don’t have dedicated identity theft insurance, your home insurance policy may offer some coverage against financial losses. If not, check with your employer to see if they can assist you. 
      • Update your account password and tighten security measures. If any of your accounts are at risk, immediately create new passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Even if only one account was compromised, it’s safest to update all accounts to protect your bank account against scams or brute force attacks. 
      • File an official report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In the United States, the FTC investigates fraud and provides support to victims. File an identity theft report online, and receive a personalized recovery plan and an official affidavit confirming that you are a fraud victim.
      • Notify local law enforcement. You can also file a police report, which can help you get justice faster if the perpetrator is in the local area. Bring your FTC affidavit and all supporting evidence of the theft to the police station and ask to speak to an officer in the fraud department. 
      • Dispute any stolen funds or fraudulent accounts. When you spot suspicious transactions on your bank statements, call the companies involved to explain you are the victim of fraud. You can provide proof — including your FTC report. This process is time-consuming but crucial to clearing your name and getting your money back.
      • Update your payment information with companies and services. After you cancel your cards, you must change the payment details for all direct debits and subscriptions. Make sure to update everything quickly — from Netflix to utility bills — before a bounced payment dents your credit score.
      • Scan your devices for malware. If hackers have your personally identifiable information (PII) or login credentials, they could access your devices or use malicious programs to spy on you. Use reliable antivirus software to scan all devices and eliminate any suspicious programs. 

      💡 Related: My Bank Account Was Hacked! What Should I Do?

      Keep Your Bank Account (and Identity) Safe With Aura

      Regularly reviewing your bank, credit card, and credit statements can help you maintain your financial health and catch the early warning signs of fraud. But it can feel overwhelming to keep constant tabs on all of your accounts. 

      With Aura, you get highly advanced credit, identity, and fraud protection — including three-bureau credit monitoring with the industry’s fastest fraud alerts3, suspicious transaction alerts, real-time identity monitoring, 24/7 support, and up to $5 million in identity theft insurance.  

      Keep your bank account safe from scammers. Try Aura free for 14 days.

      Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you to increase awareness about digital safety. Aura’s services may not provide the exact features we write about, nor may cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat discussed in our articles. Please review our Terms during enrollment or setup for more information. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime.

      Is this article helpful so far?
      Yes
      No
      Skip
      Need an action plan?

      No items found.

      Related Articles

      Illustration of a chain with one link in the style of a dollar sign
      Credit & Finance

      Is It Safe To Link Bank Accounts? 7 Risks You Need To Know

      Is it safe to link bank accounts to other apps and services? Get familiar with the risks to protect your finances from fraudsters.

      Read More
      February 8, 2024
      Illustration of a smartphone with a text bubble on the screen
      Fraud

      How To Spot a Fake Bank Text Message Scam

      Fake bank text messages are a form of smishing where fraudsters use texts to impersonate financial institutions and phish for PII.

      Read More
      January 16, 2024

      Try Aura—14 Days Free

      Start your free trial today**