Bank Statement Definition

A bank statement is essentially a record of all the activity within an individual account, showing the date of each transaction.

This can include money deposited, withdrawn, or transferred between accounts – whether it be electronic withdrawals via ATM, debit card transactions at the point-of-sale (POS), online, or even over-the-counter transactions.

A bank statement can also provide information on the status of a customer’s account, such as whether there are any errors, overdrafts, or fees.

The bank statement is provided to customers by each individual banking institution and it can be viewed online via the bank’s website or in person at a local branch.

It will include personal information about the account holder that may be helpful in identifying them, such as the account holder’s name, address, and even telephone number.

Bank statements are sent to customers’ homes or businesses on a monthly basis – typically at the end of each month.

However, it is also possible for customers to request that they receive their statement on a different schedule than the standard one simply by contacting their bank and making such a request.

What Are the Contents of a Bank Statement?

The details reflected in a bank statement typically vary per financial institution. Basically, these may include the following:

Account Name

This refers to the name of the account holder and can typically be found at the top of a bank statement.

As mentioned, this may also include the account holder’s address and in some cases, statements may also list a phone number next to the account holder’s name.

Account Number

This is the unique set of numbers assigned to each account.

While the number itself may not provide any information about the account holder, it can help one find additional details such as the name of the account owner and address.

Statement Period

This denotes the specific time frame with which a bank statement is concerned.

Transaction Date

This refers to the specific date when certain transactions were made in the account.

Transaction Type

This refers to what exactly was transacted and may include deposit, withdrawal, transfer, payment, purchase, or any other transaction type.

Deposit Column

This is the column that documents all transactions made to add money to the account.

Typically, these include deposits made via cash, check, or direct deposit.

Withdrawal Column

The withdrawal column is where all transactions made to remove money from the account and make it payable to a person or organization outside of the account are recorded.

Typically, these include ATM withdrawals, checks written to parties other than the bank, and even transfers made via online banking.

Fee Column

This documents all fees associated with an account, including overdrafts and service charges.

Typically, the bank statement is separated between different types of fees in order to help customers identify and understand them more easily.

Interest Column

The interest column shows the amount of money that is generated from funds held in a savings account or other financial product such as certificates of deposit (CDs).

While this may not generate income for the account holder, it reflects the total amount that has been added to their account as a result of having money saved within it.

Tax Column

The tax column documents all taxes deducted from the interest earned on the account.

Balance Column

The balance shows how much money is available in an account – whether there’s more than enough for a certain transaction or if there’s just barely enough to cover another.

This column will also show the running balance after every transaction is made on the account.

Benefits of a Bank Statement

Benefits of a Bank Statement

Provides Accountability

Clients can use bank statements to keep track of all transactions that they have made and ensure that their account balances remain correct. This is important in order to avoid over-drafting an account or having too little money available when needed.

Identifies Problems

With clear records of account activity, clients can check their bank statements to identify any problems that may have occurred. For instance, a missing or incorrect transaction may indicate a possible error made by the bank staff.

Tracks Savings

Since bank statements show past transactions, they can be used as a tool to determine how much money to set aside for the future.

Tracks Spending

The clearer and more detailed a client’s understanding of his or her account transactions is, the better equipped he or she will be in terms of making responsible spending decisions.

Serves as Proof of Liquidity

When applying for a loan, the bank statement may serve as proof of liquidity to prove financial standing.

How to Get a Bank Statement

To learn more about the status of an account, customers may request bank statements for specific time periods (e.g., monthly, quarterly, etc.).

Other banks may also automatically send their clients via mail a copy of their bank statement each month.

However, if a client prefers to go paperless, he or she may have this arranged with the bank.

Bank statements may be viewed through online banking channels or one may also request for it over-the-counter, especially if he or she prefers a hard copy of the bank statement.

Online Banking

To view a bank statement online, you simply need to log in to your account through the bank’s website or digital app.

Navigate through the app to locate where the statement tab is and filter which statement period you want to view. Some banks may allow you to download the statement so you can have it printed while some may not.

Over-The-Counter Request

Bank personnel will simply make you fill out a bank statement request form where you will have to provide information about your accounts such as account name, account number, statement period, and signature.

Usually, banks charge a certain fee for over-the-counter requests for bank statements.

Final Thoughts

Bank statements are important to determine the status of one’s account. It has many uses such as determining the current balance of one’s account, tracking spending habits and savings goals, and also helping to determine the eligibility of a loan application.

While there are different ways to obtain a bank statement, it is highly advised that you contact your financial institution for more information about it.

No. A bank statement is only an indication of your account balance at the end of a specific statement period (e.g., end of last month or end of last quarter). It doesn't show all transactions made during that time, so it won't be able to give you an accurate account balance until all transactions have been processed and recorded in your register, and reconciled.
A bank statement is a detailed report of all transactions that have occurred for a specific period on a client's bank account.
Typically, a bank statement can be used as proof of liquidity within six months from the date of issuance. However, the length of time may vary depending on the institution and its policies so it would be best to confirm this with your bank or financial institution first.
You may request a copy of your bank statement from your bank or financial institution. Alternatively, you can also view it online through the bank's website or digital app as some banks now offer access to all their clients' account information online.
Yes. Depending on the financial institution, you may only request one or two bank statements per month. However, some banks may offer unlimited access to their client's bank account information so if this is the case with your bank, it would be best to confirm this with them first before requesting additional bank statements.

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.