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Q&A: How Often Should You Check Your Credit Card Accounts?

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Computer_Mijndert_Stuij_CCFlickrCredit card question: I always read my credit card statement as soon as I receive it. Is it really necessary to check my credit card accounts online?

Answer: It’s terrific that you always read your statement as soon as possible. That’s an important step in preventing credit card fraud. Another important step–and perhaps you’re already doing this–is to match the charges to your receipts to make sure that all the charges are yours and that the amounts are correct.

But it’s still necessary to frequently check your credit card accounts online. This gives you an opportunity to see if there are unauthorized charges on your accounts during the weeks in between your monthly statements.

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How often should you check your accounts online? ”I think consumers should check their accounts daily,” says Adam Levin, Chairman and co-founder of Credit.com and Identity Theft 911. “They should also make arrangements with their financial institutions to either text or email them when transactions exceed a certain amount so they stay on top of account activity even when they aren’t proactively checking.”

Checking your accounts daily might sound like a lot of work, but it really doesn’t take much time at all. And you certainly stand to benefit if you’re able to catch fraud in the early stages.

Aside from looking for unauthorized charges, many consumers check their accounts frequently as a way of staying on budget. It’s easy to feel a sense of detachment when you pay with plastic. You get the merchandise, but you don’t hand over any money. When you actually see the charges online, it helps you make the connection that you got the merchandise on credit and have to pay it back.

Image: Mijndert Stuij, via Flickr.com

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