As the levels of fraud and excessive bank charges are on the increase, it has become increasingly important to study your bank statements, according to and Business Hallmark.

Ensure that you study your monthly bank statements carefully, then report any dispute and error, no matter how small, to the relevant officer.

If your bank did not send your monthly statement, you could go to any branch and request for it.

It has been noticed that most banks are reluctant to give customers access to their account statements. They devise means such as charging a ridiculous amount for printing the statement. Some banks charge between N200 and N500 to print bank statements.

They also give excuses like, the printer is faulty, the person in charge is not on seat, or refer you to another branch. All these are done to discourage customers from demanding their statements.

But, if you are insistent and patient, they will have no other choice but to give you the statement. Studying your account statements is extremely important as it will enable you to identify unnecessary charges to your account and report same to your account officer.

What should you look out for when studying your statement? Bank statements list every transaction that you have made within the month. The statement will show deposits and withdrawal. Since it is a detailed list of transactions, you should go through each transaction to ensure it is valid, check the date and if applicable the time of transaction. This is to ensure that the transaction was recorded on the date it was made. You can also keep a record of your deposit slips and cross reference with the bank statement. Interest received: If you operate a savings account, the bank should pay you interest each month for using your money. Find out what the prevailing interest rate is and recalculate the figure to ensure that it is accurate.

Also, ensure that you are paid your monthly interest. VAT on interest:Banks withhold VAT payment before paying the rest to their customer. The current VAT rate is 10 per cent. Calculate the interest withheld to ensure that it is not more than 10 per cent. Bank charges:A lot of bank customers have complained about small amount of charges to their account every month, N50 here and there can add up to a lot missing out of your account.

Bank statements not only list every transaction that you made within the month, but list activities that you were not aware of like miscellaneous bank fees. Most bank fees can be avoided, but if you do not read your statements, you probably do not know that you are being charged.

ATM fees:These fees can be avoided by reviewing your statements and then by making certain changes like walking into the branch once a week and withdrawing enough money to last you for the week, instead of running to the ATM daily, racking up unnecessary charges. Monthly service charges: Some bank accounts require that you maintain a certain minimum balance every month. If you fall below that minimum, they will charge you a nice hefty fee until you get above that minimum balance.

If you are not reviewing your statement, you will one day find out that your little stash has seriously reduced.

The simple task of reviewing your bank account on a monthly basis is a habit worth developing. It guards against fraud or errors.


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