What Is a Bank Statement?

A bank statement is a document (also known as an account statement) that is typically sent by the bank to the account holder every month, summarizing all the transactions of an account during the month. Bank statements contain bank account information, such as account number and a detailed list of deposits and withdrawals. 

Key Takeaways

  • A bank statement is a list of all transactions for a bank account over a set period, usually monthly.    
  • The statement includes deposits, charges, withdrawals, as well as the beginning and ending balance for the period. 
  • Account-holders generally review their bank statements every month to help keep track of expenses and spending, as well as monitor for any fraudulent charges or mistakes.

How a Bank Statement Works

A bank issues a bank statement to an account holder that shows the detailed activity in the account. It allows the account holder to see all the transactions processed on their account. Banks usually send monthly statements to an account holder on a set date. In addition, transactions on a statement typically appear in chronological order.

Special Considerations

Many banks offer account holders the option of receiving paper statements or using paperless, electronic ones, usually delivered via email. An electronic version of a bank statement is known as an electronic statement or e-statement and allows account holders to access their statements online where they can download or print it. Some banks email statements to customers as an attachment. Some bank automatic teller machines (ATMs) offer the option to print a summarized version of a bank statement, called a transaction history. 

Some institutions charge for paper statements, while many online-only banks require digital delivery. 

Even with the convenience, value, and accessibility of electronic statements, paper statements aren't likely to go away anytime soon. As of 2015, about a third of U.S. residents don’t have internet access, according to Pew Research Center. 

A survey in 2017 by Two Sides North America found that nearly 70% of consumers find it easier to track expenses and manage finances with paper statements. Two-thirds prefer a combination of paper and electronic statements. Many recipients of e-statements still print out their statement at home, preferring to keep a permanent record.

Benefits of a Bank Statement 

During the reconciliation of their bank account with the bank statement, account holders should check for discrepancies. Account holders must report discrepancies in writing as soon as possible. A bank statement is also referred to as an account statement. It shows if the bank is accountable with an account holder’s money.

Bank statements are a great tool to help account holders keep track of their money. They can help account holders track their finances, identify errors, and recognize spending habits. An account holder should verify their bank account on a regular basis—either daily, weekly or monthly—to ensure their records match the bank’s records. This helps reduce overdraft fees, errors, and fraud.

If any discrepancies are found, they must be reported to the bank in a timely manner. Account holders usually have 60 days from their statement date to dispute any errors. They should keep monthly statements for at least one year.

Requirements for a Bank Statement 

Parts of a bank statement includes information about the bank—such as bank name and address—as well as your information. The bank statement will also contain account information and the statement date, as well as the beginning and ending balance of the account. Details of each transaction—notably the amount, date, and payee—that took place in the bank account during the period will also be included, such as deposits, withdrawals, checks paid and any service charges.

For example, a bank statement may show a non-interest-bearing checking account with a beginning balance of $1,050, total deposits of $3,000, total withdrawals of $1,950, an ending balance of $2,100, and zero service charges for the period Sept. 1 through Sept. 30.