Do You Still Reconcile Your Checking Account?

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RSteve

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Last year, I don't think I wrote 20 checks. Most of my monthly expenses like internet and insurance are on Autopay. Everything else I pay by credit card or direct pay from my checking account. I pay the credit card companies via direct e-pay from my checking account. My checking account is my "working account." I use other financial institutions for CDs etc. The bank that has my checking account updates daily, so I can go on line and see what's cleared. Quarterly, I still do a manual complete reconciliation on old fashioned book keeping sheets. I have never found a discrepancy from the bank's read out, yet I keep doing it manually. My daughters think I do it for fun, like a jig saw puzzle. I think it's a pain in the ass and wonder if I'm the last one doing it.
 

Brewdude

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I still write checks but no longer reconcile my account. I was never any good at that kind of thing and it was constantly off. Never could understand why. Then again numbers have never been my friends!


Cheers,

RR
 

ftrplt

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I also write very few checks; I use BillPay from my Credit Union checking acct for those bills not on AutoPay. I have three main credit cards (each has a purpose which earns me beaucoup $$$) which are paid off in full each month. I receive an electronic statement from the CU each month and I do still enter the xactions into my paper checkbook! I will admit that until several years ago, I balanced my checkbook to the penny every month!! I religiously use online banking for my credit union/s, cc's, and investments. I have a few debit cards; none activated as I do/will not utilize them (except when traveling internationally when I need them for ATM cash). Happy Easter to all!! FTRPLT
 

RSteve

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Happy Easter to all!! FTRPLT
 

Zeno Marx

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I do, but I also haven't written a check in months. I think I do it every 2-3 months. I've never caught a discrepancy, and sometimes it helps me note what I purchased for that amount. I understand the semblance of control by not using autopay etc, but I also don't understand why someone would willingly throw dollars out the window by continuing to send in their payments. I truly don't judge, but it does seem like a waste of money. Peace of mind and control accounts for a lot, so again, I get it. I went paperless with almost everything years ago. They aren't wasting tons of paper, and I appreciate that part of technology. I've been told to keep my check because it can be such a hassle for some people. When that happens, it reminds me how very lazy we have become. Even if all it is is taking a photo of the check with their phone and texting it to their bank account. Speaking of lazy, I just received a new card with "tap" technology. How absurd are we that a swipe was too much to ask, and then a quick insertion was too much to ask, and now all we have to do is tap the card against the screen.
 

ftrplt

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I realize that the new "chip" cards are popular; I do like mine. Used the "tap" function for the first time this week BTW!! What I don't like is that a pin # is not required with the card. I became quite comfortable with this while traveling/working internationally. Darn near everywhere else in the world it's "chip and pin!" Much better protection, much safer than the old "swipe and sign." When traveling anywhere outside the USA, I always have my pin/s somewhere I can refer to them. Also, here in the States, we are used to handing our card to someone; then they disappear for a while (with your card!) and return for you to sign a piece of paper. Not a good thing outside the USA. In most foreign establishments (of any kind), they will have a hand-held device for you swipe or insert your card. Thence they hand you the device to enter your pin #. Then the device spits out the piece of paper for you to sign (maybe, maybe not!). Point is, your card is never out of your sight!!!!!!!!!
While working internationally several years ago (discrete location...third-world country!!), my cohorts and I were relaxing at our hotel when a gentleman approached us in a bit of a "dither!" He was so thrilled to hear a bunch of English-speaking guys enjoying a few cold local brews!! His dilemma was that he had bought a cold beverage at the local airport using his credit card. By the time he got to the hotel, his British bank had informed him of 500 British pounds in charges just posted on his card!!! He confessed that the clerk had taken his card, bent down to use the card machine under the cabinet (out of sight, of course!); then presented the card and bill for signature. Thirty minutes later...Ding, ding, ding...500 pounds in fraudulent charges!! No way to start a business trip!!! FWIW, FTRPLT
 

mtvernon

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Also, here in the States, we are used to handing our card to someone; then they disappear for a while (with your card!) and return for you to sign a piece of paper.
Maybe I’m shopping in the wrong places. I don’t have a recent memory of anyone doing that. Everywhere I shop in the United States (I’m in California) there’s either a handheld device or one bolted to the counter at the point of purchase where I do the swiping and entering of pin numbers. Much of my grocery shopping is self checkout.

As to using checks, my wife and I were the subject of check fraud a few years back. At that point we were writing one or two checks per year, so we know exactly which check it was and where it went. For further evidence, the bank intercepted it and showed us the two checks that were made fraudulently from our checking account number. When I asked the bank what we could do to prevent this from happening in the future, the reply was to never write another check. So we don’t.

With a debit card, they can change the number and issue a new card, but with a check they have your account number, so rectifying the situation and getting your money back is more complicated, not to mention having to get an entirely new checking account.
 

RSteve

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As you travel through my home state, MN, you may still find business establishments, particularly restaurants, that aren't set up for a hand held swipe device or a swipe device on the counter for the customer to swipe his/her card. Statistics do indicate that the majority of credit card fraud originates when you hand your credit card to the restaurant server, who takes it to a charging area. Fortunately, the maximum liability you have on a fraudulent charge on a credit card is $50.00; however on a debit card, no limit.
 

Bullwinkle

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I know I'm a little OCD.. but, I pay everything using my Amex card to maximize points then simply auto pay if via my credit union.
 

RSteve

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Fortunately, the maximum liability you have on a fraudulent charge on a credit card is $50.00; however on a debit card, no limit.
If you've been following the recent news, this is a critical piece of information. A major political candidate sought contributions to his campaign. What was not revealed in the solicitation was a small yellow, pre-checked box that agreed that this donation would be repeated without a further solicitation and that the continuing debit would continue post election, win or lose. Contributors who used debit cards only have the good will of their respective banks to get their money returned. Those who used credit cards are only required to state that they were fraudulently charged to reduce their liability to $50.00.
If any BoBs donated to a recent political candidate, thinking their contribution was a one time contribution, they should carefully check their CC or debit card statement. Apparently, there were millions of folks who donated less than $5.00, just as a token of faith in the candidate. Because the amount is small, they aren't noticing the continuing monthly $5.00 charge.
This is a scam that had its roots in a metro Detroit McDonalds chain, before you could self scan a credit card. A store manager had systematically recorded CC numbers of thousands of customers. On a daily basis, he'd run small charges on a set number of credit cards and take that amount in cash from the day's receipts. Who'd remember what day they'd stopped by a Mickey D's for a coffee or burger? You see a coffee charge on your CC statement for a dollar, contest it? Unlikely.

The corollary: When making a donation to a political candidate, use a money order or a one-time bank transfer, not a check, not a credit card, certainly not a debit card. Why not a check? Many checks are "cashed" electronically with no paper changing hands. It's really easy with sophisticated graphics software to spoof a check. Once a party has your check, they have the issuing bank and your account number. The rest is too easy.
 
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kxg

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In answer to the original question, no, not strictly. I use an app from my CU that tracks all charges on my debit card and another that provides a broader look at my CU accounts. If I see something strange, I check it out. I have one credit card, rarely used, and one debit card that can be run as debit or credit on the machines; I use this card for most everything that isn’t a cash transaction.
 

RSteve

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I did my quarterly reconciliation today and came to the conclusion that I spend too much money on things I don't really need. It's not that I'm even dipping into savings or investments. In fact, I probably am keeping too much money in my daily expense checking account. Before my wife's death and when I was putting my daughters through college, I still managed to save/invest a decent portion of my income. Now, I have absolutely no desire to invest and grow my estate. As a result, I think I spend too much on impulse purchases. I've resolved a few times to clamp down on spending, but then I realize that I have no reason not to buy what I can afford. Unless I have a very long protracted illness that exceeds my four years of long term care insurance, my daughters will get a modest inheritance.
However, for 2022, if I'm still alive and healthy, I'm going to see what kind of $$ I can accumulate if I only buy absolute necessities and seriously cut back my charitable donations.
The year before the pandemic, I paid the daycare expense for my youngest grandchild, without touching savings. This recent year, with daycare closed, I took care of her myself. A fiscally reasonable person would be able to account for the money not spent on daycare. I can't. (The year that I paid daycare for the baby, for my three grandchildren, all in daycare, totalled $42,000.) In Mpls.-St. Paul, for licensed daycare for an infant, $1500 to $1800 monthly.

I did discover today that my long term care insurance covers assisted living. I thought, "Why did they add that?" Then I put 2+2 together. My policy covers 48 months. Assisted living cost, on average in MN is $4000/month. Nursing home, $9000/month. The insurance company would much rather pay $192,000 over the 48 months for assisted living than $432,00 for a nursing home.
 
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