Checking Accounts 101.2 – Account Management Tools

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Everything you need to know about checking accounts.
All things checking.

When I first got started with a checking account the most important thing I had to remember was to keep track of all checks and withdrawals so I did not overdraw my account (use more money than I actually had in the account.) Overdrafts incur fees which can add up quickly.

Balancing my account was a little daunting at first but soon enough I got the hang of it. I felt confident about how much I had in my account most days. But what about the other days when I wasn’t so sure exactly what my balance was?

How do I keep track of it all?

If that’s how you feel with your new checking account, spend time to explore the different ways you can manage your money. Any internet banking system should let you customize settings and alerts based on your personal needs and preferences.

Typically, you can:

  • View account balances
  • Review account transaction history
  • Schedule transfers and loan payments
  • Make or schedule payments with eBills
  • Print copies of cleared checks
  • Review and download eStatements

If you have a smartphone, your bank or credit union’s mobile app will help bring everything together for maximum efficiency with minimal time and effort. At Dane County Credit Union you have everything you need when you’re on the go:

  • Mobile banking (check balances, transfer money, pay bills)
  • Mobile deposit (as easy as taking a picture of your check)
  • Branch locations and hours
  • Find surcharge-free ATM locations with AllianceOne
Use internet banking to manage your money.
Internet banking helps you keep track of account activity.

Keep track of everything without doing anything

Account Alerts can be your new BFF when it comes to keeping track of your accounts with email and text alerts. You choose which accounts and alerts you wish to receive on any account activity whether it’s checking, savings, loans, transfers, or bill payments. For example, get notified when:

  • An account receives a deposit
  • An ATM withdrawal or debit transaction exceeds the specific amount you set
  • An account balance is below a specific threshold (Extremely helpful just before payday!)
  • A scheduled transfer is unable to process
  • 5 days before a payment is scheduled
  • Check out the full list of possibilities

These alerts not only provide reassurance but also save time. Instead of continually checking to see when checks are deposited, or when payments are due, of what my account balance is at any given time, your account is communicating this information to you. How cool is that?

Looking at YOUR big picture

Between withdrawals, deposits, and overall account activity, it can be really tough to keep an eye on the bigger picture. I usually have a handle on account balances and bill due dates, but I need to keep an eye on my financial goals.

Monitor your financial goals

I find I need to keep an eye on goals such as growing my emergency fund, or paying off my student loan balance, or eating out less often. These bigger goals can easily become lost when looking at the day-to-day details. For this I use an online personal financial management tool.

Thankfully, I have access to the HUB at DCCU, a free, easy to use tool. It’s similar to Mint.com but gives the added convenience and security of being available through DCCU’s internet banking system, eBanking.

With the Hub, I can:

  • Track income, expenses, savings and debts
  • View account balances at other financial institutions (including credit cards, loans, etc.)
  • Create a budget and set goals
  • Tag transactions (to see how often I am eating out each week)
  • Monitor my progress on both small and bigger goals

As I monitor my progress over time, I can better identify areas with potential for improvement as well update my goals when needed. Emergency fund goal met? Fantastic, so now I’ll shift my attention to building an IRA next.

Now that you’re getting used to your new checking account and the money management tools, you’re ready to discover a few other cool options.

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Hillary W.

Hillary is a 2008 graduate of UW-Madison. She is a proud Badger all the way, but her strong love of travelling led her to a graduate program out in Phoenix, AZ, which she absolutely adored. Now, back in Madison, Hillary is once again connected to her Wisconsin roots. In the winter, you can find her on the ski slopes whenever she has time. In summer, she's on the bike path or enjoying a good book along any stretch of lakefront. Also a passionate Mallards fan, look for her at Warner Park whenever a game is in town!