How to get a bank statement from your financial institution

Two women looking at paperworkImage: Two women looking at paperwork

In a Nutshell

A bank statement contains all of an account’s transactions from a given statement period — usually a month. Many banks and credit unions allow you to view and download bank statements online or request a physical copy by mail or at a bank branch.
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When you need more clarity about how much money you’re earning versus spending, you’ll want to reference your monthly bank statement.

Knowing how to get a bank statement is important for anyone who has a bank account. You might receive one in the mail, maybe monthly or quarterly, unless you sign up for electronic statements instead. You can also typically review and download current and older statements from your online account. 

Other types of accounts also have statements, including investment accounts, credit cards, mortgages and auto loans. As with bank statements, you can often review copies online or request one by mail.

What is a bank statement?

Bank statements are a record of all the credits and debits to your bank account during a specific period. The statement may show your bank account number, along with a list of transactions, including direct deposits, debit card purchases, withdrawals from ATMs and overdraft fees from that statement period. The bank statement may also show the account’s beginning and ending balance for the period. 

Many banks will assign monthly statement periods to their bank accounts and send you monthly statements. However, accounts that don’t see frequent transactions, such as a certificate of deposit accounts (or CDs) might see quarterly statements. 

Banks typically need to keep customer account records for deposit accounts (like checking and savings accounts) for at least five years. Some choose to retain records for longer, but you won’t necessarily find all your previous statements through your online banking platform. If you don’t see a bank statement you’re looking for through your online account, or you’ve closed your account and don’t have online access, you may still be able to request a physical or electronic copy (some banks may charge a fee for the document).

How to get a bank statement online

By default, banks may send your statements in the mail. However, many banks encourage customers to sign up for electronic statements instead. 

For instance, you might receive extra account benefits or monthly-maintenance-fee waivers if you opt in for e-statements. Plus, avoiding paper statements can help protect against mail thieves, and using less paper is good for the environment. 

Once you sign up for e-statements, the bank will likely send email notifications when your statement is ready online. The specifics will depend on your bank, but you can generally find historical statements for between two and seven years through your online account or your bank’s mobile app. You may also be able to download copies of PDF statements for your records.

Online and paper versions are generally identical, but there may be minor differences at some banks. For example, you might receive separate e-statements for all your accounts rather than a single consolidated paper statement. Still, both should show all the deposits and withdrawals from your account during the statement period. 

If you don’t sign up to receive e-statements, you may still be able to access your statements online. If you haven’t already created an online account though, you may need to do so first.

How to get a bank statement in the mail or in branch

If you need a paper copy of a bank statement, or a copy of an older statement that’s not available online, you may need to visit a bank branch or request the statement by mail.

Visiting a local bank branch could be the fastest option as you won’t need to wait for the mail. However, you may want to call the branch first to verify they can help. If it’s not convenient to visit a branch, you may be able to request a mailed copy online or by calling customer service. 

In either case, there may be a fee for requesting a physical copy of your bank statement, so be sure to ask before moving forward. 

Why would I need a bank statement?

There are several reasons you may need to get a bank account statement or a statement for one of your other accounts. Here are a few. 

  1. Review your spending. Budgeting software can often connect to bank accounts and pull in your transactions for you to review. If you don’t use software though, you may want to review your bank statements periodically to better understand when and where you’ve spent money and compare against your budget. 
  2. Look for fraud or errors. You also want to review your bank statements for signs of fraud and discrepancies, such as purchases you didn’t make or deposits for an incorrect amount. 
  3. Apply for a loan. If you’re applying for a loan, such as a personal loan or mortgage, you may need to share copies of your bank statements. The lender will review them, along with other documents, to help determine whether you qualify for a loan and the rates it will offer. 
  4. Review your account balance. You may want to review other account statements, such as a loan statement, to see your current balance and interest rate. Reviewing your loan statements can be helpful if you’re thinking about refinancing or consolidating debts, or preparing to start a debt payoff plan.  
  5. Renting a home. Some landlord and property management companies may ask for copies of a bank statement to verify your income. Alternatively, you may be able to share pay stubs or tax forms. 

How often can I get a bank statement?

There’s typically no limit to how often you can download available statements or how many bank statements you can review online. However, there may be a fee each time you request a printed or mailed statement. 

Banks aren’t generally required to send you a monthly statement for your deposit account if there wasn’t an electronic transfer into or out of the account during the month. Many banks may still create a monthly statement for checking and savings automatically though. But you might only receive quarterly statements for other account types, such as CD or retirement accounts.

Bottom line

Your bank statements can offer a quick account summary of your account, and regularly reviewing your statements could help you stay on top of your personal finances. However, a better approach may be to use budgeting software that can automatically sync with your various bank accounts. 

Rather than having to log into your online banking account to download statements or review transactions, the budgeting software can quickly consolidate information from all your accounts. It may also offer insights into your spending habits, and it could be easier to use the software to search transactions or organize your records by transaction date or category.

About the author: Louis DeNicola is a personal finance writer and has written for American Express, Discover and Nova Credit. In addition to being a contributing writer at Credit Karma, you can find his work on Business Insider, Cheapi… Read more.