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Published April 17, 2024
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What Is a Bank Statement?

A bank statement is a document that summarizes account transactions over a set period of time, usually a month.

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A bank statement is a record of all the financial transactions that occur in an account over a set period of time.

Having a record of the activity in your savings account or chequing account activity is vital since it’ll help you see how much you’re earning and spending, and whether you’re sticking to your budget.

Understanding what information is included on a bank statement can also help you keep an eye out for any suspicious transactions.

A bank statement includes:

  • The name and address of your financial institution.
  • Your bank’s customer service number.
  • Your name and address.
  • The statement time period.
  • Your account number (part of it may be omitted for security reasons).
  • Your current account balance.
  • All of your withdrawals, including overdrafts and ATM withdrawals.
  • All of your deposits, including direct deposits.
  • Descriptions of each transaction, such as the name of a store where you used your debit card or a wrote a cheque.
  • The dates of each transaction, including pre-authorized debits such as bill payments.
  • The sum of all withdrawals and deposits during the statement period.

Bank statements typically cover a full month, starting on the first day and ending on the last day, though some banks may use a different schedule.

🤓 Nerdy Tip: It’s a good idea to check your bank statement at least once a month to ensure that everything is accurate. If there’s a suspicious transaction, it could be a sign of fraud. You need to contact your financial institution right away, as most banks only give you 30 days from the date you receive notice of the transaction to dispute it.

» MORE: Common bank fees and charges to know (and avoid)

How to get a bank statement

You can choose to get your bank statement through the mail or online. The statements are exactly the same, but online bank statements can be a good idea since some financial institutions may charge a fee for paper statements.

To get your bank statement, follow these steps:

  • Log in to your bank or credit union’s website.
  • Look for “Statements” on the sidebar or menu.
  • Choose your account.
  • Select your statement period.
  • Open the PDF, and print or download it.

In your account preferences, you’ll be able to choose between paper or online statements. You may also be able to customize your notification settings so you get a message when a new statement is available. Some accounts aren’t set up to automatically provide bank statements, so you might need to turn on this setting in your account preferences. It’s a good idea to enable statements so you have access to historical documents about your account.

Some banks may offer the option to create online statements for specific date ranges. If yours is one of them, you may be able to choose a specific period and generate a statement that includes only those transactions. This is handy if you’re trying to isolate transactions made during a specific timeframe, such as during a trip.

How long should I keep my bank statements?

Retaining bank statements is a personal choice. Some people destroy their paper statements as soon as they’ve reviewed the information and made sure everything is correct. If you need to check a transaction online, many banks will allow you to go as far back as seven years from the time you register for online statements, so it’s rarely necessary to save the paper copies indefinitely.

Checking your bank statements regularly is crucial, however. Don’t throw them away without looking! Not only can you identify potential fraud, but you can also monitor your spending and saving. Bank statements may also be required when applying to rent a home or applying for a mortgage. Think of your bank statements as documentation that can help you reach your financial goals.


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