Keep Your Debit and Credit Card Receipts

March 18, 2010

Have you ever balanced a checkbook? Maybe you learned in school. With everything being electronic these days, keeping track of your finances can be done through receipts. Keeping a shoebox of receipts isn’t only for the tax man. You can avoid some major trouble if you hang on to your ATM and credit card receipts each month. Now, most people crumble their ATM receipts up or don’t ask for them.

Get in the habit of holding on to them. Here’s why. Identity theft is a real threat. Criminals are finding more and more high tech ways to steal what you have accumulated. And, it happens in some of the most unlikely places. Holding on to receipts can help you prove to the bank and credit card companies that you have been the victim of fraud.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that you use your credit card to pay a bill online. Even here, you have the option to print the receipt along with the confirmation number. When your bank statement is published, you can check it online. Instead of one debit for the bill you paid, there are two. You only authorized one payment. With your receipt, you can open an inquiry with the credit card company. They can hold all funds for that transaction until their investigation is finished. This process is a little harder with debit cards but a receipt is your proof that a mistake has been made.

If you aren’t used to hanging on to these receipts, it can be bothersome at first. Dedicate a wallet or envelope for your receipts. Keep an envelope in your car for ATM receipts and a wallet or coupon holder in your purse for the receipts from stores.

  • At the end of the month, sit at your computer or at the table with your paper statement. Use your receipts to account for every charge during the previous month. As you check off each one, you can throw that receipt away. The only thing you won’t have accounted for is bank finance charges, and those are easy to add in or rather subtract.
  • If you want to keep all your receipts for tax purposes, use a tissue box to store them after you’ve accounted for them on your bank statement. Now you are ready to collect more the next month.
  • These receipts are also helpful for setting up a household budget. People who pay for most of their purchases with a card can use the receipts to average gas usage, grocery spending and money spent on incidentals like entertainment.
  • You probably never thought that those receipts could have so many uses. At least keep your receipts long enough to balance your bank statements and check for discrepancies before throwing them away.

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