Student Service Center
When you choose a bank, consider both convenience and cost. Banks may charge several types of fees. Some banks charge monthly service fees; others charge you whenever your balance dips below a set minimum, whenever you use an out-of-network ATM, or in other cases such as when you write a check or use a live teller.
Review your banking habits and identify the services that are most important to you. Compare several banks/credit unions to determine which is best for you.
Online banking allows you to manage your money via the Internet. You can view all your banking transactions, move money, and pay bills online. The convenience of online banking is great, but make sure you are still an active participant in your finances:
- Check your online banking statements often.
- Monitor automatic payments. It is your responsibility to make sure payment is occurring!
- Contact your bank immediately if there is an error or any unfamiliar activity, no matter how small.
Managing your bank accounts, whether savings or checking, by reconciling them to your bank's records is a responsibility—and one of the best money management habits you can keep.
Even if you have online banking access, you should keep your own records of account activity. You don’t have to use a traditional bank register (also known as a checkbook or bank book), but you should keep track of all additions to the accounts (direct deposit of wages, check deposit, interest earned, etc.) and withdrawals from the accounts (purchases on a debit card [note cash back, if applicable], automatic bill payment, ATM withdrawals, transfers, etc.).
You should balance, or reconcile, your records for all of your bank accounts at least once each month when your bank statement is available. This is one of the best money management habits.
Balancing your records:
- Helps you keep track of your money
- Verifies the information you have is accurate
- Helps you identify any mistakes you or your bank made
To balance your accounts, follow these simple steps using a Bank Balancing Tool or other tools or software:
- Ensure you've entered all automatic transactions (e.g., ATM withdrawals, electronic transfer of funds, online bill payments, and debit card transactions) into your records.
- Review your statement.
- Compare your statement with your records and mark all items that match.
- Add to your records any missing deposits or additions from your statement, including interest payments and ATM or electronic deposits.
- Subtract from your records any missing deductions, including fees and ATM or electronic deductions.
- Update your statement information.
Balances don't match? Try these tricks:
- Ensure you didn't transpose any numbers.
- Make sure you didn't enter an amount more than once.
- Take a break. When you come back, you'll be refreshed and might see your error more quickly.
Avoid paying fees if you can! Tips to help you avoid those pesky fees:
- Establish an account at a bank with a large ATM network.
- Plan cash withdrawals when you can access your own bank’s ATMs.
- Avoid higher-cost ATMs found in convenience stores, hotels, restaurants, and airports.
- Know what you have in your accounts. Don’t spend more than you have and get hit with an overdraft fee!