How Do I Find Out What a Charge Is on My Bank Statement?

Reviewing your bank statement in detail when it arrives each month is critical to catching billing errors in a timely fashion, according to Care One Credit, a debt relief agency. Whether reviewing a statement for a checking account or a credit card, careful inspection of each line item or charge will give you a better idea of where your money is going. If you are not sure about a particular charge, there are several ways to find out.


Step 1

Contact the bank. Whether you call your bank's customer service telephone line, send a message through your bank's online banking portal or visit the bank in person, contacting the bank is a critical step. Monthly bank statements for checking or savings accounts can include a variety of fees, and if you have linked a debit card to your account, debit card charges may also appear on your statement. Bank staff can help review the statement with you and explain bank charges—such as monthly maintenance or overdraft fees—or help you learn more about debit card charges that appear on the statement. If a charge is incorrect, bank staff can also help you dispute the charge.


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Step 2

Contact the vendor who charged. If the charge on your bank statement stems from a debit or credit card purchase, there should be a vendor name and some sort of contact information, such as a telephone number or website address. Some cards, like American Express, also categorize the charge on the statement in addition to providing vendor contact information, so you can see whether a charge was for a restaurant meal, hotel stay or clothing purchase, which might help shed some light on the charge.


Step 3

Check your receipts or account documentation. If a debit or credit card charge that appears on your bank statement does not sound familiar, check any receipts you may have kept from recent shopping trips or errands. Do you track debit card charges on your check register? If so, review the register to see if any amounts on it match the charge on your statement. If your bank issued the charge, check to see if the amount of the charge matches one of the entries on the schedule of fees that your bank provided when you opened the account. Most banks also provide a copy of the fee schedule on their online banking portals as a helpful tool for customers.