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How Often Should You Check Your Bank Account Balance? - The Motley Fool

The quick answer? Pretty often, at least as far as your checking account is concerned.

  • It's important to keep tabs on the amount of money you have in your checking account to avoid overspending or getting stuck with overdraft fees.
  • You don't need to check your savings account balance nearly as frequently, but it's good to check after taking withdrawals.

Some people check their bank account balances multiple times a day, while others can easily go the better part of the year without so much as logging into their accounts. If you're wondering how often you should be checking your bank account balance, the answer is somewhere in between.

In fact, it's a good idea to review your checking account balance pretty often, since that's the account you probably use to pay bills. But you may not need to review your savings account balance as often.

Keeping tabs on your checking account

Your checking account is where you should keep the money you need to pay your bills -- both essential and non-essential ones. You might pay those bills in the form of debit card transactions, physical checks, or electronic checks or transfers from your bank account. You might also have your checking account linked to a service like Venmo. And, you might withdraw cash from your checking account at ATMs for those times when you can't pay by debit card, credit card, or app.

Because your checking account is a cash source you use so frequently, it's important to know what your balance looks like pretty much at all times. This doesn't mean you have to check your balance every single time you make a transaction. But it's a good idea to check your balance every few days. If you go through a period where you're spending more money than usual, you may want to increase that frequency and check your account balance daily.

Why that need? You might think you have $200 left in your checking account at a given point in time with your next paycheck three days away. In that case, you might let yourself spend that $200 knowing you don't have any bills due between now and when your payday arrives.

But what if you really only have $150 in your checking account? In that case, your bank might allow that transaction to go through. But you might then get hit with a costly overdraft fee. You can avoid that by knowing what your balance looks like.

Furthermore, as a general rule, you don't want to let your checking account balance get too low. Keeping regular track of it is a good bet.

Keeping up with your savings account

If your savings account is money you rarely or never touch, then there's no need to check your balance all that often. Granted, if you forget what your balance looks like, you can always log on and check. Similarly, if you need to take a withdrawal from savings, it's a good idea to see how much money you're left with.

But generally speaking, most people don't pay bills out of their savings. And if you're in the same boat, then there's no need to check that balance often. Sure, you might see that balance grow over time thanks to accrued interest. But given where interest rates are sitting these days, you're unlikely to see any meaningful movement on a week to week or even month to month basis.

Know what your financial picture looks like

No matter your age, income, or goals, it's a good idea to have a sense of what your finances look like. That means knowing how much money you have not only in the bank, but in your brokerage account and retirement plan, too. Having those numbers could guide you toward savvy decisions that only help your financial situation improve.