What is a bank statement?

A bank statement is a document issued to you by your bank that indicates how much money is in your account, as well as payments, withdrawals, and deposits.

Zack Sigel

Zack Sigel

Published April 9, 2019

A bank statement is a document issued by your bank that tells you how much money you have in your bank account. Bank accounts list all the payments, withdrawals, and deposits you made as well as interest you earned and penalties you received.

If a check you wrote was cashed or deposited, the bank statement will indicate that, often including the check number, date, and the amount. Checks that you deposited from someone else may also have that same information.

Most people receive their bank statement monthly, but it can be accessed any time. You can receive the bank statement as a paper document or download it from your bank or credit union’s online services portal.

Keep your bank statement safe. It displays your account number, which can make it easier for someone to access your account. It also includes the names of every merchant you made a transaction with.

Read on:

How to get a bank statement

The most convenient way to get a bank statement is to log onto your bank or credit union’s website. If you haven’t already done so, you can make an account as long as have your account number on hand. You can also get a bank statement if you use an online bank.

You should have the option to sign up for paperless statements. With this option, your bank or credit union will send you an email whenever your latest bank statement is ready.

Paper statement

If using the internet isn’t your thing, you can go to your bank or credit union’s local branch and ask for a copy of your bank statement there.

You can also call your bank and ask for a copy to be mailed to you. Some banks charge for this service, so using the free online option is usually your best bet.

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What’s on the bank statement?

Your bank statement is the way to quickly view the financial health of your bank account. Cash in, cash out; there’s not much more to it than that.

Your personal info

Your name and address show up on your bank statement. This is to help people identify the owner of the account. Your bank account number will also be listed, but not your routing number.

Account summary

The account summary will show the following:

  • Your balance at the beginning of the month
  • Your balance at the end of the month
  • Deposits, including cash, checks, and transfers
  • Withdrawals, including cash and checks
  • Interest, if you have an interest-bearing account, such as a savings account, which may be expressed as an annual percentage yield (APY)
  • Fees, if your bank charges any

Checks

Your bank statement may have a separate section for check withdrawals that include the date of withdrawal, the amount, and the check number. Some banks will also list checks you deposited.

Deposits

This section includes cash deposits made at an ATM or branch location.

Your paychecks will also appear here if you use direct deposit or deposit the check using your mobile banking app. Any deposits from electronic funds transfers like PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle will also appear here.

You should also see deposits from selling a security, whether it’s cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or shares of a stock.

Cash withdrawals

When you use your debit card to withdraw cash, that amount will be recorded in this section.

Electronic withdrawals

Electronic withdrawals include transactions like payments you made with an app and transfers of money between accounts.

This is also where you’ll see mortgage payments if you pay your mortgage with direct deposit, as well as payments toward other loans like your car loan or student loan.

Payments to your credit card to pay off your credit card balance will appear here. If you have a home equity line of credit (HELOC), payments to pay off that balance will also appear here.

What’s not on the bank statement

Your bank statement won’t show credit card charges. That’s because your credit card isn’t a deposit account. When you make a credit card purchase, you’re promising to pay back that purchase in cash at a later date.

Your credit card balance and charging info will be on your credit card billing statement, a separate document.

Your bank statement also won’t show your routing number. That number appears on your checks to indicate which bank your account is located in. Having both the routing number and account number could allow someone to make withdrawals directly from your account.

What to use a bank statement for

A bank statement’s main purpose is to help you understand your cash flow. But you can use it to help your finances in other ways because it proves your income to banks, lenders, and insurance companies.

If you need a loan, or need to get insured, you’ll probably be required to get several months’ worth of bank statements, in addition to other financial documents.

Some examples of situations that may require you to show a bank statement include:

  • Applying for life insurance and disability insurance
  • Applying for a loan, such as a car loan, a mortgage, a student loan, or a personal loan
  • Applying to rent an apartment to prove that you can pay the rent
  • Applying for certain immigration visas that have an employment requirement, to prove that you’re earning an income
  • Showing proof of residency, if needed when applying for an official government document like a driver’s license, when you have no other proof of identity
  • Signing up for an investing app, like Robinhood, which may need to verify your income
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