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What is a bank statement?

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What is a bank statement?

A popular crime thriller had a plot where the villain planned to hack into the servers of banks and wipe out all their data. The logic was that most people never knew how much balance they had in their account. If all records were deleted, then there would be chaos all over. What if something like this really happened? If such an unlikely scenario really occurred, then what would save you is your bank statement. A bank statement is a record of all your transactions at the bank and contains the balance in your account. It helps you know how much money you have in your bank account.

The bank statement is an official record issued by the bank where you have an account. Usually, bank statements are issued once a month. It can also be issued for a particular period, like three months, six months, or even for a date range. All types of banks, small and large, and credit unions issue bank statements. Some banks issue the statement periodically while others issue it on demand, i.e.: you are given a copy when you ask for it.

Why would you need a bank statement?

A bank statement can be useful in many ways:

  • It helps you reconcile your account. You would probably have records of transactions you carry out in your bank account in the form of pay-in slips, e-mails, and SMS. When you get an official statement, you can compare the record you have maintained with the official record. This will help you reconcile your account so you are clear about all the transactions that have occurred. You can verify all the transactions carried out to check if they are right and to identify any possible mistakes.
  • Errors are unlikely in the age of digital banking. Errors though can happen due to human mistakes or can be even be an instance of cyber fraud. In case there is an error, like an incorrect transaction or a reference to a check issued which you have not issued, you can get it rectified. The statement allows you to check for errors and get them corrected. For this reason, it is better to review your bank statement so that any errors can be reported on time to get it fixed.
  • It helps you in financial planning. The bank statement helps you get a bird’s eye view of how much money you are earning (credit to your account) and how much you are spending (debit from your account). It is the best way to track your spending. One look at your bank statement and you can understand how much you are spending. For those who do not track how much they spend, the bank statement can help in tracking expenses so you can reduce unnecessary expenses.
  • It is an official document. The bank statement is an official record of your banking transactions. It may be required while applying for a loan, when you need to produce the bank statement as proof of your financial position. It may also be demanded by a landlord from whom you are renting an apartment.
  • The bank statement will be very helpful while filing your income tax returns. You can refer it to get data to prepare your returns.

Online or printed statement

While printed bank statements are the norm, most people are switching over to paperless statements that are delivered online. To save paper usage and show their commitment to the environment, banks are convincing customers to opt for e-statements that are sent through email in the form of a pdf file. Usually, these statements would have a password that is revealed in the accompanying email. If you need a bank statement that has the signature and seal of the bank for any official purpose, you can then ask for a printed statement. Otherwise, e-statements are as good as a printed statement.

What does the bank statement contain?

The bank statement contains the following information:

  1. Your details

Your personal details like name, account number, address, email, and phone number are printed at the top of the bank statement.

  1. Statement period

This is the period for which the statement has been generated. It could be for a month, three months, six months, a year, or a date range, i.e.: from 01-01-2019 to 01-05-2019.

  1. Opening balance

The statement starts with the opening balance as on the first date. A monthly statement would have the balance in your account as on the first date of the month.

  1. Transactions

All transactions that took place during the period are listed out. The date of transaction, a brief description of the transaction, and the amount would be printed. The statement would show whether it is a credit transaction (incoming) or debit transaction (outgoing). All transactions, including deposit of checks, receipt of checks, receipt of salary, withdrawal of cash from ATM, money spent using debit card, online transactions using the bank account are mentioned in the statement. Apart from these, interest paid by the bank and charges levied on your account are displayed.

  1. Closing balance

At the end of the statement, the totals for credit and debit are shown. This will help you get a snapshot of whether you are spending more than your income. The closing balance would also be printed on the statement. This is the amount in your bank account as on the last date of the period for which the statement is generated.

The bank statement is a record of all your banking transactions. It is an important record that helps you know the history of your banking transaction that can be useful while financial planning. You can get this record by visiting the bank branch or even print it at the ATM. E-statements can be downloaded anytime by logging into your bank account online and generating the statement. Make sure you check your bank statement periodically, so you are able to track your spending and also find out any error in your account.

Banking

Japan PM Suga’s cellphone cut call adds to BOJ’s headaches

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Japan PM Suga's cellphone cut call adds to BOJ's headaches 1

By Leika Kihara and Kaori Kaneko

TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is making life tougher for the Bank of Japan as carriers respond to his calls to cut cellphone charges, a move seen as adding deflationary pressure on the country’s already weak economy.

Suga has publicly said he believes Japan’s cellphone fees are too high and that carriers are a monopoly, a message seen as resonating with younger voters.

Nodding to the pressure, major Japanese carriers NTT Docomo, KDDI and Softbank announced plans to cut charges by up to 20% from as early as March.

That could push down the core consumer price index, which fell 0.6% in January from a year earlier to mark the sixth straight month of falls, by as much as half a percentage point, analysts say.

The move highlights how deflation remains the BOJ’s primary headache, even as its U.S. and European peers face communication challenges posed by recent rises in inflation.

It also shows how in Japan, even seemingly straightforward government decisions can have vast ramifications for the BOJ, given the spectre of deflation.

“Unlike in the United States, government policies work to push down inflation in Japan,” said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Daiwa Securities.

“Japan is a country where companies struggle to raise prices because consumers are so sensitive to price hikes,” she added.

(Graphic: Japan is facing rising deflationary risks, https://graphics.reuters.com/JAPAN-ECONOMY/DEFLATION/jznpnolgjvl/chart.png)

(For an interactive graphic on Japan’s core consumer price index, click here https://tmsnrt.rs/3qAtiXc)

Cellphone fees have a big influence on Japan’s price gauge because they have the fourth highest weighting among the 523 components making up the core consumer price index (CPI).

The resulting fall in core CPI would mostly offset an expected boost from a recent rise in energy costs and the base effect of last year’s pandemic-induced sharp declines, analysts say.

Excluding any impact from cellphone fee cuts, analysts expect core consumer prices to start creeping up by mid-year but rise only modestly thereafter.

“Bottom line, Japan’s trend inflation is quite weak because demand is sluggish,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

To be sure, lower fees would give households money to spend on other items. Fees for a 20-gigabyte plan in Tokyo are highest among the world’s six major cities and triple the sum in London, according to a Japanese government survey last year.

But data so far paints a bleak consumption outlook.

Bank deposits jumped a record 15.5% in January from a year earlier to 827 trillion yen ($7.83 trillion), 1.5 times the size of Japan’s economy, as households save rather than spend.

Real wages fell 1.2% last year, the fastest pace of drop since 2014. Nearly three quarters of firms have no plan to offer blanket base pay hikes at this year’s labour talks, a recent Reuters poll showed.

Takumi Harada, a 27-year-old engineer, says he would consider switching plans to reduce the 6,000 yen in smartphone fees his family pays each month.

But he has no intention of spending the extra money on other items. “I think I’ll just save,” he said.

($1 = 105.5800 yen)

(Reporting by Leika Kihara and Kaori Kaneko, additional reporting by Kentaro Sugiyama; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Banking

BOJ’s Kuroda says explained March review plan to PM Suga

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BOJ's Kuroda says explained March review plan to PM Suga 2

By Yoshifumi Takemoto

TOKYO (Reuters) – Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday he explained to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga the central bank’s plan to conduct a review of its policy tools in March.

“I explained how the global economy was picking up, and how the BOJ needed to conduct the review to continue its ultra-loose monetary policy,” Kuroda told reporters after meeting with Suga.

Kuroda said Suga did not have any particular comment on the BOJ’s March review and the two did not discuss the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The BOJ governor and the prime minister hold meetings once every few months as a regular practice to exchange views on the economy and policy.

The BOJ unveiled a plan to review its policy tools in March to make them “more sustainable and effective,” as the hit to growth from the coronavirus pandemic forces the central bank to maintain its massive stimulus programme for a prolonged period.

(Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto, Writing by Leika Kihara; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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Banking

The truth about Open Banking: why tech and regulation alone can’t create a customer experience revolution

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Why Open Banking Needs Open Source

By Andrew Stevens, Principal, Banking and Financial Services at Quadient

Over two million customers are now using products powered by Open Banking. Thanks to PSD2 and the Open Banking regulations, financial providers can now use customer data to provide services such as multi-account visibility, debt management, and microtransaction investment. However, many argue that Open Banking still isn’t living up to its initial hype. When first introduced, Open Banking was tipped to revolutionise the customer experience, improve customers’ control of their data and force huge industry-wide change. Many argued it would displace industry incumbents and pave the way for a future led by digital challengers – a problem many consumers didn’t even know they had. Perhaps it’s time to move beyond the grandiose claims of the industry commentary and go back to the original wording of the Open Banking rules: the intention was simply to level the playing field of the financial industry.

Bemoaning the regulations and claiming they haven’t lived up to the hype is an understandable argument. However, Open Banking has delivered by enabling digital challengers to make some great strides; roundup accounts and the exact products offered by micro-investment apps like MoneyBox wouldn’t have existed without it. While traditional banks have naturally seen less need for Open Banking, with the Big 4 still managing over 75% of UK current accounts, there is an opportunity to learn from how challengers have harnessed their new access to data to personalise the customer experience – something that 80% of organisations say is important to their customer strategy. However, a cultural shift is just as crucial to improving customer experience as any technological advancements or regulatory changes.

Lessons to be learned

Open Banking regulations alone have not created the services that have propelled customer experience forward. However, they have democratised customer data, which has led to huge advancements in the back-end of applications. This in turn has helped create new functionality like intuitive microtransactions, one-click top-up payments between different accounts, and the ability to deliver investing or concierge services through challenger banking apps.

There are lessons to be learned here for traditional banks – Open Banking can be used to give consumers what they want. But what actually is that? Statistics show that 40% of consumers want personalised guidance to help them manage their money better, and 82% of people who use Open Banking-enabled apps have seen improved money management. So why are traditional banks still lagging slightly behind in delivering these types of services to their customers?

New technology is not enough

Perhaps because major banks continue to focus efforts on fighting for a larger share of the customer’s wallet. Despite industry experts affirming that the UK Big 4 still reign supreme, there is high industry anxiety around digital challengers. Banks instead need to learn to coexist with these newer banks, and see how their services can complement each other. Banks could integrate their offering, delivering useful advice or tips on budgeting based on data from Monzo or Revolut, or provide investment options for customers with a hefty lump sum in their MoneyBox account.

However, using new technology to do this isn’t enough. It’s also important to abandon the idea of ‘the mass market customer’. By embracing the fact that each customer has a different set of needs, traditional banks can truly tailor the customer experience and orchestrate it at the individual level. This is far more likely to please customers, 90% of whom now expect businesses to anticipate their needs and act accordingly. Banks could harness Open Banking to see a customer’s whole financial picture, using that as a basis to predict which additional services could be offered that will suit their specific habits.

The great differentiator

Whether you’re a traditional or a challenger bank, delivering the best possible customer experience is a key priority. Today’s customer wants their life and financial position to be enhanced by their bank. While Open Banking alone cannot deliver this, the regulations have certainly enabled challenger banks to provide the new services that consumers want. It’s important for traditional banks to not only learn from this, but embrace the fact that customers have multiple different accounts with other providers. This mindset shift will enable traditional banks to begin building and offering more personalised services to their customers, and compete in the rapidly changing financial market.

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