Knowing how to balance a checkbook used to be an essential skill for every responsible adult. However, technology has changed the way people manage their finances.
Here’s what you need to know about balancing your checkbook in modern times:
First, What Is Balancing a Checkbook?
Before online banking became widely available, each account owner was responsible for keeping track of their own account balance: Every time a person wrote a check, made a deposit, or used their debit card, they had to record the transaction in their check register to keep from bouncing a check or going into a negative balance.
Forgetting to track even a single transaction could result in bounced checks and insufficient funds charges. Therefore, maintaining a balanced checkbook was critical for managing a household’s money.
But these days, with online banking, we have instant access to our current account balance, with pending online payments already reflected as debits from the account – no more waiting for written and mailed checks to clear.
So, do you still need to balance your checkbook like in the old days in this age of modern, digital banking?
The new reality is that few people today feel the need to regularly balance a checkbook like in the old days (the 1990s!), and with good reason: with easy access to online bill pay, there’s little reason to write a check.
Modern Tools That Simplify Money Management
Whether or not you still write checks, online banking tools make money management easy. Here are the benefits of four of the most popular and helpful online banking tools:
- Online Bill Pay
Gone are the days of licking stamps and mailing in checks to pay bills. Just about any kind of bill can be paid online. And being able to accurately anticipate what payments will draw from your account on any given day conveniently allows you to stay on budget and keep track of your account balance in real time.
- Money Transferring Apps
It’s no longer necessary to carry around a checkbook or a pile of cash for unexpected expenses. Whether you’re paying your babysitter or donating money to a worthy cause, money transfer apps like Venmo and PayPal make it easy. Most banks also offer money transfer services, like Honor Bank’s Person-to-Person Payments.
- Direct Deposit
Direct deposit means your paychecks are digitally deposited directly into your checking account so the funds are available right away. No more trips to the bank on payday to make the deposit yourself.
- Mobile Banking Apps
Customers want to do their banking not just online, but on the go using their smartphones. Some banks are offering mobile apps to their customers. For example, Honor Bank’s mobile app offers an easy way to deposit checks, pay bills, transfer money between accounts, and send money to others – from anywhere.
Practical Tips for Keeping a Balanced Checkbook
Online banking with instant account updates makes balancing your checkbook an unnecessary task. However, if you still write paper checks, you may still want to maintain a check ledger. The easiest way to overdraw your account is by writing checks and then forgetting about them. Outstanding checks could withdraw funds from your account at any time, so it’s important to record the details of every check you write. This will allow you to always be sure there’s enough money in your account to cover all uncashed checks, plus any service charges and scheduled automatic bill payments.
Once a check clears, make note of it in your records. All standard checking account ledgers include a column where you can put a check mark next to the checks that have cleared. This way, you’ll know which of your checks remain outstanding.
Online Bank with Honor Bank
Have you decided to balance your checkbook for the last time? Use our online bill pay and rarely write a paper check again. Modern online banking tools are safe, secure, and easy to use. Simplify your household budgeting tasks with the digital banking options at Honor Bank.
To explore the possibilities with modern, yet local bank account options, check out Honor Bank's digital banking tools.