Since your debit card is linked to your checking account, or you have a prepaid debit card, it's a good idea to have a debit card register so you can keep track of your balance. It is basically the same thing as a check register; you log the date of the transaction, a short description of what you paid for, the amount you paid and your account balance after you made the transaction. You can also add deposits as entries on your register so that your totals remain correct.
Buying a Debit Card Register
You can either create your own debit card register using an ordinary notebook or a printable, or you can buy one at an office supply store or over the Internet. A few good ones you can buy online are:
- Checks In the Mail's Debit Caddy Pack, which comes with eight card registers that can handle more than 150 items each and a two tiny pens, perfect for stashing in a purse.
- American Promotions offers a register that can be branded for your company. Not only can you get one for yourself, but you may also want to give them out so that others see your logo each time they make a purchase.
- The Credit Union National Association offers a register with a glossy cover that says International Credit Union Day on it. It has 15 pages and two card pockets.
If you don't want to buy a register, you can also ask your current financial institution. Many, including Bank of America and Citibank, offer the registers for free. You may even be able to have them mailed to you without paying postage.
Debit Card Register Holders
It is very convenient to have a register holder because you don't have to worry about your register getting wrinkled or otherwise damaged in your purse or in your wallet. Checks In the Mail sells registers that look very similar to the typical plastic check register, but the difference is that they're half the size. The holders come with four debit registers that fit snuggly inside them. You can choose from several different patterns.
It is also possible to make your own holder for your register and debit card. It can be as simple as sewing a fabric pouch that is about the same size as your card and then tucking the register inside right next to it. Just be sure that the pouch is sturdy enough to withstand you pulling things out of it on a regular basis.
Using Your Register
Once you have your register ready to go, note that it's important to check it against your bank statements each month, just like you would a check register. It's easy to make an addition or subtraction error or to omit a charge by mistake. You don't want to overdraw your account or rely on money that you think you have and then get an unpleasant surprise when you overdraft. This is true whether your debit card is linked to your checking account or is simply a reloadable prepaid card. Also, don't forget to record online purchases.