If you want to stay on top of your finances, you need information. Fortunately, the information is at your fingertips.
First, you should be checking your online bank account on at least a weekly basis. Checking the balance will help you make sure you don't overdraw the account.
A weekly check will help you keep up with what purchases have cleared. It will also help you identify any fraudulent withdrawals, giving you an early chance to alert the bank.
Looking for fraudulent charges is another reason to check your credit card account -- again, weekly or more often. Checking your statement before paying it is always a good idea, but with online access to your account, you can keep up with pending charges as well.
Finally, it's important to look over your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies. Under law, you can do so for free once a year by going to www.annualcreditreport.com.
You're looking for evidence of fraudulent accounts, but also for incorrect information. While the information may not be exactly the same in all three reports, it should be similar. Instead of checking all three on the same day, check one at a time, four months apart.
Don't think you have time to do all that checking? Well, you seem to have plenty of time to do other kinds of checking.
Things consumers check more often
A new survey from Discover found 57% of people check social media apps and websites at least once a day, 52% check online shopping websites and apps at least once a week, and 36% check their weight at least once a week.
In fact, the survey found 83% of consumers check their email once a day, 56% check the weather forecast once a day, and 45% visit news apps or websites at least once a day.
The survey found just 26% of us check our credit score, despite the fact there are a growing number of financial companies, including Discover, that let you do it for free. Ryan Scully, Discover Vice President of Marketing, says staying on top of your credit score will provide useful information and insight into your finances.
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