Checking Account Basics


Transaction Register

After you write a check you need to record it, and all other transactions (withdrawals, deposits, fees) you make.  Although there are different styles of transaction registers, all have space for the same information (some might have additional columns so you can put information about how the check is being used, i.e.:  medical expenses, school expense).  You start with the amount of money you open your account with.  After you write a check you then register (put the information about it) in the book:

  • Check Number:  The number is shown on the upper right hand side of the check (also on the bottom).  Checks are in sequential order.  If you make an error on a check, still write the check number and then write “Void” in your register.  This way you’re sure you aren’t missing a check.
  • Date:  The day you write the check.  Note:  Just because you write the check, the person/merchant receiving the check might not immediately bring it to their bank to deposit.  Furthermore, banks often take a few days to process your check.  If you write a check on March 15st, and you receive your statement on April 1st, there is a chance it won’t be included in that statement (see balancing your checkbook).
  • Description of Transaction:  Record who the check was made out to.  Not only do you need to include all payments made, but also all withdrawals (and for your records what it might have been used for).  If you use an ATM or purchase something with a debit card you need to include that amount as well.  If you use a debit card, and incur a fee for your usage, you need to indicate that also.  If you pay online, the bank will give you a confirmation number code, you might wish to include this also, along with the payee information.  You need to keep one source for all your transactions in order to reconcile your bank statements (make sure they are correct).
  • Payment Amount:  The amount you wrote the check for.
  • Withdrawal Amount:  The amount of money you took out.
  • Fee Amount:  Any fees that might be incurred during a transaction.  The main fees will be from ATM machines that are not associated with your bank.   Also based on the type of account you have the bank may impose a monthly service fee which also must be deducted.
  • Deposit Amount:  Money you put into the account.
  • Transfer:  If you have more than one account and move money from a checking to a savings account or one account to another.
  • Balance:  Based on the kind of transaction you made, add or subtract that amount from the previous balance to come up with your new current balance.  Let’s say you had $200 in the bank, you wrote a check for $50 to purchase new clothes at a store, your new balance is now $150).  Make sure you correctly add (if you put money into your account), or subtract (if you take money out or put it into another account).