Every month, banks and credit unions prepare statements for the 124 million households with bank accounts across the United States. These families and businesses use these statements, called bank statements, for all sorts of financial purposes.
But, what information goes on a bank statement? How much information does a bank statement provide to those that use it, such as families, lenders, and renters? Let’s look at what these documents do for their users and how to get them for yourself.
What Is A Bank Statement?
A bank statement is a record of all of the transactions that happen for a particular account. These records will show all of the deposits and withdrawals for that account throughout the time period the statement is for.
The most common bank statements are those available for checking and savings accounts at a bank or credit union. The statements for these accounts cover all the transactions over a month. Also, they cover where these deposits and withdrawals are going.
Other accounts, such as certificate of deposit accounts, don’t see as much activity as a standard checking or savings account. Because of this fact, many institutions will instead provide a quarterly statement instead of a monthly one.
Bank statements have a lot more information on them than just transaction information. Here’s a list of all of the information you can expect to see on your bank statements:
- The account number
- Home address for the account holder
- The start and end of the bank statement period
- Deposits (checks, direct deposits, electronic deposits, reimbursements, credits, etc.)
- Withdrawals (purchases, payments, ATM withdrawals, electronic transfers, automatic payments, banking fees, etc.)
- Interest or dividends earned by the account
- The starting and ending balance for the account
- Instructions on how to report any fraud on the statement
- The financial institution’s customer service contact information (phone number, emails, etc.)
As you can see, a bank statement has a lot of sensitive information on it. It is important that your bank statements stay out of the hands of other folks. With these statements, someone would have access to your financial history and identifying information.
How To Get A Bank Statement
Most banks make it easy to receive statements. Once you open an account with the bank, they will ask what the best way for you to receive your bank statements is the best. The most common choices are via mail, via your local branch, or online.
For a long time now, banks and credit unions have been sending statements by mail. This process lets those that bank with the institution keep an eye on their accounts and maintain their own records for personal finance and tax purposes.
Many of the larger financial institutions out there right now allow you to get your statements via email when you sign up for the account. For a monthly fee, the bank will send out your bank statement to your home address. This fee is usually a couple of dollars a month.
If you’re not currently receiving your bank statement via mail, you can go to the local branch or call the customer service number to get it started. Because most folks don’t live right next to their bank, giving them a call is the easiest option.
On the phone, the representative will tell you if they can send your statement by mail. The teller can also help you get that process set up and going every month. You will need to provide some identifying information to protect against fraud. But, once you get through that, you will start receiving your statements in the mail beginning the next month.
If you decide to go to the branch instead, you will go through the same steps that you would have on the phone. Provide the information that the teller asks for, and you will be able to start getting statements at the beginning of the next month, just like calling in the request.
Sometimes, you might not have time to wait for a mailed-in bank statement. You might be hurrying to apply for a loan or concerned about an error or potential fraud in your account.
Regardless of the reason, you might be able to get your bank statement in person at your local bank or credit union branch.
Getting a bank statement at your local branch will require you to go down to the branch and request it from the teller. The teller will want your identifying information, such as the account number and some form of ID before you receive your statement.
There is usually a fee for printing out a bank statement. This fee is only a few dollars, so expect to see some money leave your account after getting the bank statement printed out at the branch.
Finally, not all banks print paper statements at the branch. If you are not sure if your bank will do this for you, you can call the bank ahead of time and ask. The rep on the phone will be able to point you in the right direction if the branch can not print out the statement for you.
Many banks now offer online statements. Some banks, especially online banks, only supply online statements for their customers. Still, these statements will be the same as the paper ones you could get before, just stored online in your user account.
Every bank has a different way to navigate its online statements. Here’s a general overview of what the process looks like, though:
- Log into your bank account online: Whether you use the website or a mobile app, log into your user account with your username and password.
- Find your electronic statements: Headings such as Services, Statements, or E-Statements are the most common headings used to tell users where their bank statements are.
- Select the statement period: Select the period of time that you want to review the statement for, usually a month or a quarter.
- Review the statement: Double-check the bank statement to ensure that all the transactions look okay and that your information at the top of the document is correct.
- Save or print out the statement: You can either save the document onto your device as PDF or print the bank statement out using a connected printer.
- Log out of your bank account: When you’re all set, log out of the account so that no one can come after you on the device and get into your bank account.
If you want to only get online bank statements in the future, there should be an option to enable that in your online bank account.
Look through your Services or Account Options and look for paperless statements. This option will let you get your statements online only, saving you the trouble of extra mail and printing fees from the bank.
Closing an account does not mean that everything done through that previous bank account is gone forever.
Banks have to hold onto financial records for at least five years, as long as they continue to remain in business. That fact means it is possible to get a bank statement from a closed account.
The easiest way to get a bank statement from a closed account is to contact the bank itself, either via phone or email. Tell them that you need a bank statement from this closed account, and the process will get started.
You should expect to provide a lot of identifying info to get the bank statements. In addition to a driver’s license or passport, previous bank cards, bank statements, or account balances might be required to have the bank statements released.
If the account was closed before a bank was bought out or went out of business, you will need to call either the new bank or the FDIC.
The new bank should have the statements if they bought out your old bank within the last five years. This process might take longer, especially if the banks are still merging or working out the transfer process, so expect some delays.
If the FDIC is managing the bank’s closure, then you’ll need to contact them and see what that organization wants to retrieve your statements. Again, the FDIC isn’t in the business of retrieving statements, so expect some difficulties or delays.
How To Request A Bank Statement
Requesting a bank statement from your bank will come down to calling the local branch or going online to your account and downloading the statements. Depending on your circumstances, your local branch might be able to mail the statement to you early or print out a statement at the branch for you to take home.
Different banks will have different processes they go through, so calling your bank is the easiest way to get started with these requests. The service rep will be able to walk you through the process and help explain what info you’ll need to provide to get the statements out to you.
After all this talk about getting bank statements, the question is: why would you need these statements in the first place? If you have the summary of your account available online through a website or app, why would you need a paper or electronic copy?
There isn’t one answer to these questions. Financial circumstances are unique to each household or business, meaning that account statements serve several different purposes. Here are some of the reasons a person or business might need their bank statements:
- Personal finance: A bank statement is an easy way to start or maintain a household budget by reviewing the incomes and expenses the household has in a given month.
- Looking for any fraud or errors: A manual review of a bank statement makes it easier to see if there are any mistakes or possibly fraudulent charges to an account.
- Applying for a loan: Loan providers want to see proof of income, usually in the form of tax returns or bank statements to show consistent, provable income.
- Reviewing balances: Bank statements provide a summary of the transactions in a period, letting an accountant or owner of the account review how much cash is left in the account.
- Renting a home/apartment: Much like loan providers, renters will want to see provable income for a period of their choosing.
To sum it up, bank statements are a great recordkeeping tool for finances. They offer all the information for an account within the period they track into just a few pages. Reviewing these pages can make habits like spending, saving, or income generation much more clear.
Can I Get A Bank Statement Early?
If you receive your bank statements online, you can request and download your bank statements as much as you like and whenever you want them. This is the same with picking up your statements as a local branch.
However, if you normally get your statements in the mail and need them faster, you’ll have to adapt. Calling your bank and seeing if they can mail the statements out earlier is an option. Otherwise, they might tell you to go online or to the local branch to receive your statements.
Regardless of how you get your statements, it’s possible to get them early. You might have to adjust from what you normally do if you need them early, though.
Although banks have to keep your bank statements for at least five years, nothing is stopping you from keeping your statements for a longer or shorter time than that. You choose how long you want to hold onto your statements and no one else.
Some folks, especially those that are self-employed, might want a monthly statement to make sure that they report their income accurately for tax purposes.
There’s a big penalty for self-employed folks that don’t report all of their earnings, so freelancers and business owners go out of their way to make sure that they don’t get on the bad side of the government.
Most folks are not business owners, though. In that case, you only have to hold onto your statements for as long as you need them. Whether they are for proof of income or to balance your checkbook every month, feel free to discard these statements when you are done with them.
Bank statements have a summary of all the transactions associated with an account over a period of time. This period can be monthly or quarterly, depending on the type of account. Regardless, this document has all the transaction info plus identifying info for the user.
If you need to get a bank statement from your bank, then reaching out to them via phone or email is the easiest way to do so.
Some banks will print statements for their customers, but not all banks offer this benefit. Online statements are offered by many banks, so check out your customer account through the website or mobile to see if that is an option for you. Finally, when you’re done with your statements, make sure that you dispose of them by shredding them and marking out any identifying information. You don’t have to hold onto these documents any longer than you want to.