How to Read a Debit Card Statement

by Melissa Adele Haskin
Set aside time each month to make sure your debit card transaction statement is accurate.

Debit cards are linked to your checking account. Therefore, to access your statement, you'll either need access to a computer and the Internet for online banking, or the ability to contact your bank in person, over the phone or via fax. Once you get a copy of your statement, you'll want to double-check charges and make sure everything adds up.

Gather your bank statements and clear a space to work. Make sure your pages are in order. If you're working with more than one statement, arrange them by date. Place the first statement you want to work on in front of you. It should include your account balance and a list of charges.

Start at the top, where the most recent charges appear. Debit card transactions will appear as withdrawals. They may even list the card number with X's and the last four digits of your card. For example xxx-xxxx-1234. You can usually distinguish them from checks because when you use a check, a check number will appear next to the charge on your statement.

Look at the charges column. Examine each charge individually and make sure it looks accurate. You may need to double-check against receipts. Dates may be off because sometimes, it takes a few days for things to post to your account, but the amounts should look right.

Grab a calculator. Go through your statement charge by charge and make sure you end up with the same amount. Your statement may list your balance after each charge, which will be helpful. If not, simply add up the total charges, deposits and any checks. Add this to your prior balance. Make sure the amount matches your "remaining" or "new" balance. If the numbers don't match, go through the charges one by one with your calculator to find the error.

Locate any fees you incurred. Make sure they're accurate and that you know why they were assessed.

Contact your bank immediately if you find any errors or have any questions.

About the Author

Specializing in food and business, Melissa Haskin is a Oregon writer who received a Bachelor of Science in economics with an emphasis in business from Oregon State University. She completed graduate work in journalism at the University of Oregon and has contributed to publications such as "The Register-Guard," "Oregon Quarterly" and "Eugene Magazine."

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