From time to time in your life when you're working on personal finance issues or work tasks, you might need to provide someone with a copy of your bank statement. You might not want that person to see all of the information on the statement (such as your account number). You can edit the statement (called "redacting") using one of two common methods.
Reviewing the methods for editing a bank statement will help you keep your information safe while providing someone the information they need to evaluate your financial position.
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Consider also: How to Check Your Bank Statement Online
What Is a Bank Statement?
A bank statement is a monthly summary of the transactions that took place connected to a specific checking or savings account. The transactions might include withdrawals, deposits, fees, penalties and interest earned. You will not only see the amounts of the transactions, but you will often see the payee and the type of transaction (e.g., paper check, wire transfer, ACH transaction).
Whether it's for a personal or business account, it's a good idea to perform a bank reconciliation each month, recommends AccountingCoach.com. This is a comparison of the statement to your personal check register (if you keep one) or business ledger.
Let's say you write a $200 check to a friend who, for some reason, doesn't cash the check this period, or for several months. You might forget that you wrote this check, see that you have $500 available in your checking account, and spend $400 based on your belief that you have $500 available. Your friend then cashes the $200 check and it's either rejected by your bank (the check "bounces") or you have an overdraft of $100 on your account, which can trigger a fee.
Consider also: What Is an Original Bank Statement?
Why Would Someone Need It?
People or businesses who ask to see your latest bank statement usually do so to see what your financial situation is. This could include potential lenders (like a bank looking at giving you a mortgage) or a supplier looking at giving your small business materials on credit.
If your latest statement shows that you started the month with only $200 in your account, you deposited $50 and spent $150, that doesn't look good, in terms of your financial stability. If you've got tens of thousands of dollars in your account and you had more than a dozen transactions (including regular payments like your utility bills), that looks like you're in good financial shape.
Consider also: Should I Give a Car Dealer My Bank Statement?
Editing With a Marker
The old-school way to redact a bank statement is to take a heavy black marker and make a line through any information you don't want someone to see. After you make a neat line that covers the information you want hidden, hold it up to the light and check to see if you can see the amount this way, both through the front of the page and the back of the page.
If so, you might need to draw the line again or draw the line on the back of the page directly behind the line you drew on the front of the page. If the marker leaves a moist line, wait until it dries, hold the paper up to the light again and check the front and back of the document.
Editing a PDF File
If you are able to receive copies of your bank statement digitally, they usually come in the form of a PDF file. You might be able to edit the statement using a program like Apple's Preview or Adobe Acrobat Reader. Open the document and look for a pencil icon somewhere near the top of the document or another indicator that lets you edit the document.
You can hover your cursor over icons to see what words appear when do you this. Words you see might include, "print," "enlarge" and "edit." You can also look for the "Help" link at the top of the screen and type the word "edit" to get instructions for doing this.
If your PDF reader program requires you to pay for an upgrade to edit documents, you might instead be able to edit your document using an online PDF editor, like the one at PDF-Editor-Online.com. You'll drag and drop your bank statement PDF into the app and follow the directions on the page.