Balancing Your Checkbook
Balancing your checkbook with your statement allows you to accurately keep track of your money and the
activity in your account. By making it a habit to balance your checkbook every time you get your statement, you will
always know how much money is really in your account to help avoid overdrawing funds (for which there is a charge, if
you haven't set up overdraft protection). Also,
it will help you spot any unauthorized use of your ATM card or checkbook.
Think of your monthly checking statement as a road map to the successful handling of your checking account. Follow these basic steps and you'll be on your way to organizing your finances.
There are three steps to balancing your checkbook:
- Check off items in your register.
First, bring your check register up-to-date by comparing the items listed on your statement with the items listed in your checkbook register. To ensure that you have entered all necessary items in your register, check off each item in your register that appears on the statement.
- Update your checkbook register.
Record all transactions listed on your statement that you have not written in your register These entries may include ATM transactions, service charges and fees, and deposits.
- Use the reconciliation form.
The final step in balancing your checkbook is simple arithmetic. Use the reconciliation form on the back of your statement to guide you through the following steps:
- Beginning in the upper left-hand column of the reconciliation form, list all of your outstanding checks (those that you have written that have not appeared on your statement).
- Write the ending balance into the space provided, as listed on the front of the statement.
- Add to the ending balance any deposits you have made that do not appear on the statement.
- Subtract from this total any outstanding checks (those total of those listed in the first step).
- In your checkbook register, subtract any service charges or miscellaneous bank fees that appear on
your statement, but which had not been yet been entered in your register.
- The balance from your checkbook register should
match the final sum. If the two amounts are equal, your checkbook is balanced. If not, you'll have to do some additional work.
What Happens if Your Figures Do Not Balance?
If your statement balance doesn't agree with your check register balance after you have completed the reconciliation, don't panic. Here are some tips to help you clear up the discrepancy:
- Review the previous month's statement to make sure any differences were corrected.
- Check to make sure you have listed all outstanding checks. Again, refer back to the prior month's reconciliation and if all those items have not cleared on the current statement, they are still "outstanding" and should appear on the list again.
- Check your addition and subtraction if you are using a manual check register.
- Make sure you have listed all the deposits that have been made after the cutoff date of the statement.
- Make sure all the miscellaneous charges and fees are recorded.
- Double check that the check amounts listed on your statement match your check register, making sure
that you have not transposed a number (don't just look at the amount you wrote in, look at the statement amount or the
encoded figure at the bottom right corner of the online check image).
If you are still unable to solve the problem, you may want to contact a customer service representative at your Provident Credit Union for additional help.