An account balance is the amount of money remaining in any account held at a bank or other similar institution. This might include checking accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, or any other funds that one may hold. The account balance at most banks is kept as up to date as possible. Some accounts may be reconciled at the end of the day, while others may be maintained in real time.
There are various ways to obtain one's account balance at a bank. Calling the bank with one's account number or stopping in at an ATM are two of the easiest ways. Some banks offer many of their services online now, so one may be able to log on to the banking website and immediately see not only the account balance, but any deposits or withdrawals that have been made. In addition, some banks are even capable of sending a text message with a balance to the account holder's cell phone.
It is important to keep careful track of one's account balance at all times. One should maintain a checking and savings register, where deposits, withdrawals, and interest deposits are written down as soon as they occur. This is particularly important when using a debit card associated with a checking account; it is too easy to forget to write down a transaction and end up with a negative balance in the account.
It is a federal offense to write a bad check, also referred to as bouncing a check. In addition, nearly all banks charge high fees for bounced checks, and these fees can exponentially add up if there are no funds in the account to cover them. This is another reason it is important to maintain a careful record of the current balance in every account.
When one receives a monthly bank statement, one should then go through the statement, and match up the transactions to those that are written in the register. If any differences or mistakes occur, one generally has just a few days to visit the bank and file a complaint. In general, any mistake can be resolved fairly quickly if it is noticed right away, but a mistake that goes unnoticed may not be able to be fixed. When balancing a bank statement, be sure that the account balance that the bank has matches the one that is written in one's register, minus any checks that have not cleared yet.