It may seem like an "old fashioned" thing to do, but balancing your checkbook is proving more necessary now than ever before. FOX 4 financial expert, Kathy Stepp, told us why it's worth your time to faithfully crunch those numbers the traditional way.
Do you balance your checkbook?
A study by Online Consumer Poll in September of last year found that a full 69 percent of people "never" balance their checkbooks, and another 10 percent "rarely" balance their checkbooks! Only 21 percent of people said they "faithfully" balance their checkbooks. Which category do you fall in? If you're one of those who "never" or "rarely" balances your checkbook, wake up!, because you could be losing money.
The main reason we have always been taught to balance our checkbooks is that banks can (and do) make mistakes. In the past few years, by balancing my checkbook I have caught the following mistakes: a deposit credited for the wrong amount, checks cleared in my account that were for someone else's account(!), and -- the latest and perhaps most alarming -- the same exact check cleared two months in a row (!!). And when I talked to my bank about this latest mistake, I was told that this is happening more frequently now, due to the increasing use of check scanning devices by check recipients.
In addition to finding bank errors, you can, of course, find your own errors. This is important so that you always know your bank account balance correctly and don't mistakenly overdraw your account, which would incur lots of fees and embarrassment.
Finally, you should know what your bank is charging you in fees: check clearing fees, ATM fees, monthly fees, etc. By seeing and understanding those charges, you can make an informed decision about the best place for you to bank.
1. WHY BALANCE YOUR CHECKBOOK?
- Banks make mistakes!
- You should know what fees you're paying
2, BALANCING YOUR CHECKBOOK ISN'T:
- Glancing at activity on line or checking balance at ATM
3. BALANCING YOUR CHECKBOOK IS:
- Simply comparing what you think is in your account with what your bank thinks is in your account
- DO IT!