How Can I Trace Back on a Bank Transaction?

Document each ATM transaction in your checkbook.

Keeping a careful eye on your bank account is important, both to detect fraud and to handle your finances more effectively. If you spot a transaction that does not look right, it is your responsibility to bring that transaction to the bank's attention. Depending on the age of the transaction, that might mean looking the details up online, going through your past statements or researching the problem in person with the bank's representatives.


Recent Transactions

Log on to your bank account online and go to the statements section. Bring up copies of each statement listed until you find the transaction you are looking for. Note the date of the transaction and the amount, along with the transaction ID number as listed on the statement. Call or visit your bank to get more information on the transaction. The more information you can supply the bank, the more information they will be able to give you about the specific transaction you are trying to trace.


Older Activity

If the transaction you are trying to trace goes back further than your online statements, you need to do some more research to get the information you need. Review your paper account statements carefully to find the transaction in question. Depending on your bank, you may be able to see anywhere from six months to two or more years of account activity online. If the account is older than that you probably will not be able to access it online. That is why it is a good idea to keep copies of the paper statements you receive in the mail, or at least print copies of the statements from your online account.


Finding the Transaction

After you have tracked down the paper statement that contains the questionable transaction, the next step is to gather as much information as you can about that transaction. Circle the date of the transaction, the name of the individual or business to which the payment was made, and any transaction ID number. Take that statement to the bank and ask them for more complete information, including a copy of the check and information on who endorsed it.

Get the Help of Your Bank

Visit your local bank branch if you cannot find the transaction on any of your paper or electronic statements. Provide the bank with as much information as you can to help them find the transaction you wish to trace. Providing details like the approximate date of the transaction, the transaction amount and the name of the business can be a big help.