DEFINITION of 'Account History'

An account history is all the activity within an account, usually since inception. In a bank account, the account history includes all transactions initiated by the account holder as well as passive entries (such as interest on balances, which are credited to the account). The account history is also called a "ledger," depending on where the account is held.

BREAKING DOWN 'Account History'

Account histories can be a very important tool for credit card companies to identify fraud or identity theft, particularly when transactions are out of the ordinary in terms of their amount or place of purchase. Account history is recorded on the account statement, which is an important document to retain.

Most checking, savings and brokerage accounts will send a monthly statement to account holders. This statement should include the account history for that month.

How Account History is Used

An account history may be referred to when a record of transactions by an individual or organization is needed to answer questions about questionable. This may be particularly useful if, in addition to cases of fraud, other suspicious behavior is suspected. For example, if an individual has accepted or transferred ill-gotten funds through in their bank account, the transaction will be recorded. Likewise, if the assets and funds of an organization do not match their expected levels, the account history can provide a financial roadmap. This can reveal who accessed the account and instituted the transaction. In instances of embezzlement of corporate funds, account history can be a tool for identifying the problem and those who are responsible.

Reviewing an account history can establish patterns of income and expenses paid over the given period. This can be used to create a budget or other financial operating plan, with the account history supporting the projections outlined in those frameworks.

An account history can also be used to discern recurring purchase habits, such as how often a credit or debit card is tendered at supermarket to pay for groceries. Such an assessment could be used to anticipate when an individual might next need to go shopping to restock.

Not all account histories are specifically tied to financial institutions, but do represent transactions between parties. For instance, retailers, especially ecommerce businesses, may maintain account histories of their customers’ shopping activity. With that information, the retailer might recommend comparable items they believe would be of interest to the customer. Customers might refer to their own account history with a retailer to decide if they want to repurchase an item through the company.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Account Statement

    An account statement is a periodic summary of account activity ...
  2. Closed Account

    A closed account is any account that has been closed out or otherwise ...
  3. Accounting

    The systematic and comprehensive recording of financial transactions ...
  4. Linked Savings Account

    A linked savings account is a savings account that is connected ...
  5. Primary Account Holder

    A primary account holder is the individual who is legally responsible ...
  6. Checking Account

    A checking account is a deposit account at a financial institution ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Accountant: Job Description & Average Salary

    Discover what the job description of an accountant entails, along with education and training, salary and skills necessary for success.
  2. Investing

    A Day In The Life Of An Accountant

    An analysis of the accountant profession, who becomes an accountant, what they do, where they work, and salary ranges.
  3. Personal Finance

    4 Savings Accounts for Investors

    Curious about the best saving accounts and which ones suit investors?
  4. Insights

    A Look At Accounting Careers

    More than just crunching numbers, this career blends detective work with trouble shooting.
  5. Managing Wealth

    Checking Account Reviews: Chase Premium Platinum

    Which perks and services come with Premier Platinum and is it worth the cost to you?
  6. Investing

    Understanding Capital And Financial Accounts In The Balance Of Payments

    The current, capital and financial accounts compose a nation's balance of payments, indicating the state of its economy and economic outlook.
  7. Investing

    Money Market Accounts vs. Savings Accounts

    An interest-bearing account that pays a higher interest rate than a savings account and gives the account holder limited check-writing ability.
  8. Investing

    Accounting Basics

    What is accounting? Learn the basics of this essential way of recording and summarizing financial information.
  9. Investing

    Money Market Accounts with the Highest Interest Rates

    Money market savings accounts can offer higher interest rates than regular or even high-yield bank savings accounts – and perks like these.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between the current account and the capital account?

    Learn how to differentiate between the capital account and the current account, the two components of the balance of payments ... Read Answer >>
  2. What's the difference between the current account and the capital account?

    The current account considers goods and services currently being produced. The capital account is concerned with payments ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the objectives of financial accounting?

    Learn about the principle objectives of financial accounting, including the furnishing of the financial statements for those ... Read Answer >>
  4. Why is reconciliation important in accounting?

    Learn about accounting reconciliation and its importance for individuals and businesses to help prevent fraudulent activity ... Read Answer >>
  5. What transactions are included in a country's balance of payments?

    Learn about the many types of transactions that are recorded in a country's balance of payments, including the current, capital ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center