In high school I took a class called “Practical English” which, ironically, was neither practical nor related to the English language. It consisted of various things adults had to do in the real world and, as we were told, things that we would have to do once we entered adulthood.  Being an analytical type, one of my favorite parts of this class was learning how to reconcile my checkbook.

Those younger than my generation will describe the concept of checkbook reconciliation as “quaint.” Some of my children have checking accounts and have never written a single check.  None of them understand why it’s important to reconcile their account, much less how.  The reason for this is that most of our financial transactions are “instant.”

Debit card transactions now post (almost) instantly to your account. If you’re paying attention to your online banking app, you see these transactions as they occur.  Astute consumers know whether or not these transactions are valid.  Of course, almost all transactions are valid transactions and the balance in the typical account is accurate.  If transactions post to your account that are not valid, an immediate call to the credit union can rectify things.  That’s much better than waiting until the end of the month for a reconciliation.

Perhaps you prefer using a credit card for your payments and therefore don’t see the transactions post instantly. You may want to enroll in Visa Purchase Alerts, a free monitoring service that allows you to be notified by email and text whenever a charge is made to your cards.  It’s very easy to sign up your debit and credit cards and set alerts for certain transaction amounts, international transactions, or card not present (telephone or online) transactions. This allows you to know what is being posted to your accounts as the transactions occur, and flag anything that look suspicious right away. That’s more important than ever since our financial transactions occur at the “speed of now”!

Bill Burke | President/CEO

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