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Your daily banking routine

By David McMillin ·
Friday, April 27, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

A recent survey from the American Institute of CPAs compares two popular online routines: monitoring your social media accounts versus monitoring your checking and savings accounts.

The survey found that the vast majority of young adults dedicate more time to managing their friends and followers than managing their money. In fact, among adults 18 to 34, just 17 percent of respondents indicated that they check their bank accounts on a daily basis while more than 50 percent log in to their social media accounts each day of the week.

While I don't advocate compulsively checking your online banking profile every hour, I do strongly recommend paying attention to your account activity. Keeping a close eye on your account is one of the most important components of protecting yourself from identity theft liabilities. Earlier this week, my co-blogger Claes Bell pointed out that debit card fraud can happen to anyone. If someone manages to use your debit card and you fail to report it within two days, you can be responsible for up to $500 of the unauthorized purchases.

As Financial Literacy Month draws to a close, the AICPA survey also introduces an interesting perspective on the way we use technology. While we have access to online budgeting tools and easy-to-understand transaction histories, many of us fail to put them to use. Why? Outside of spending time browsing social media circles, the Internet helps us buy, well, pretty much anything. In fact, 56 percent of the survey's respondents said that technology makes it easier to spend money.

Since so many young adults spend plenty of time online, I recommend simply making your personal finances part of that Internet exercise. Before you post your next status update on Facebook, take five minutes to check your balances and review the purchases in your online banking folder. It's a good proactive practice to ensure there are no suspicious charges, and you may even be able to identify certain categories where you could cut some of your spending.

What do you think of the survey results? Do you monitor your checking account balance as often as you monitor your social media account activity?

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April 28, 2012 at 2:23 am

Yes, keep an eye on your accounts--sometimes it's the bank that is stealing it. I took out a car loan with Tyndall FCU of Panama City, Fla., and they required a draw against my checking for the monthly payments. I paid off the loan within 2-3 months and asked for my account to be closed. Instead of closing my account, they drew another $90 from my checking, but assured me the overpayment would be refunded. I waited for the refund and then forgot about it. In the meantime, Tyndall transferred the money to a "savings" account, and began drawing a $5 fee against my money because less than $100 was in the account. When I remembered the overpayment, Tyndall had eaten $25 of my money and refused to refund their "fees" for my overpayment. I went up the chain of command, all the way to the president, but they refused to refund my money. I have asked an attorney to file a claim in small claims court for the $25. He said that if anyone else has a similar complaint, I can file a class-action lawsuit. Please respond if you have had fees taken from your account after overpaying a loan. They had no right to transfer my money into another account and begin drawing "fees" to steal it.