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- When you check your debit card balance to see how much money you have left to spend, you’re really looking at the balance of your checking account.
- You can check your debit card balance over the phone, at an ATM, in person at the bank, online, or via your bank’s mobile app.
- It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your debit card balance to keep from overdrafting, or spending money you don’t have.
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Knowing how much money you have in your checking account can be the difference between paying your bills on time and bouncing a check.
Having a check bounce is never fun, and on top of the embarrassment, there are usually additional fees to deal with, as well. Signing up for overdraft protection from your bank in order to cover yourself in these types of situations is one way to deal with it, but another is to keep a close eye on your debit card balance at all times.
That’s because your debit card is a direct line to your checking account, and your debit card’s balance is your checking account’s, too. If your money is dwindling on your debit card, your checking account is also running low.
How to check your debit card balance
1. Gather your information
You’ll need to have some details on hand for any of the routes you pick to check your debit card balance. Get your debit card and have your PIN number on hand, and you should be good to go.
2. Call customer service
One way to check your account balances (if you don’t have an online account or don’t want to go to the ATM or bank branch) is to simply call your bank. After providing the customer service representative with your account and PIN numbers, he or she should be able to let you know your current debit card balance. Some banks have automated systems that will tell you balance in your checking account — and therefore your debt card — once you’ve confirmed your identity.
3. Log onto your account online
If you already have an online account with your bank, checking your debit card balance online is probably the easiest way to do so. Head to the bank’s website and type in your credentials to log in (typically a username and password).
4. Create an online account
If you don’t have an online account, you can set one up by clicking on a link that will probably say something like "create an account" or "register." You’ll need to fill in some information — like your account and routing numbers, name, address, and birthday — and you’ll be asked to create a username and password.
5. Scan the homepage
For most banks, the homepage that pops up should include your checking account information (including the current balance, which is linked to your bank debit card), as well as any other accounts you have with the bank.
Be sure you understand which account you’re looking at when it comes to checking your debit balance, since this is essentially a cash line. For example, if you have a savings account linked to the same bank, that account will likely show up on the homepage as well when you log in — be sure you know which is which before moving forward with transactions that involve your debit card.
6. Log off
It’s especially important to make sure you log off of any website that contains personal and/or private information if you’ve logged on in a public place (although it’s best to avoid logging on a private account from public-access WiFi in the first place), but it’s good practice to always log out of websites that contain your personal and private information, no matter where you are.
7. Head to an ATM
If you need to take cash out anyway, heading to an ATM to check your balance can cross two things off your list at once. Check your bank’s website for a location finder to find the ATM nearest to you. Using another bank’s ATM may cost you a fee, although most banks allow you to at least check your balance from an outside ATM for free.
8. Insert your debit card
Whether it’s a drive-up or walk-up ATM, in order to check your balance and withdraw money, you’ll need to put in your debit card and enter your PIN to gain access to your account.
9. Select the option for a balance inquiry
Different banks may have slightly different home screens for ATMs, but most have a button that says something along the lines of "balance inquiry" or "bank balance" that you can select to view your balance. Depending on your bank, the balance will either be displayed directly on the ATM screen or printed out on a receipt.
10. Log out of the ATM
Some ATMs will log you off automatically, but you always want to make sure the screen has returned to the home page before you leave an ATM where you’ve just entered all your account details.
11. See a customer service rep inside the bank
If you’re already at the bank, you could also head inside to check with a customer service representative in person about your debit card balance. You’ll need all the same information you would at the ATM — your account number from your card, for example, and probably your PIN — and they will be able to pull up the information for you in person, as well as to withdraw whatever cash you might need.
12. Download your bank app
One final way to obtain your debit card balance is through your bank’s app. Similar to logging in online, the app will usually provide you with a home screen once you log on that contains all of your account information — including balances — for that particular institution.
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