Bank statements are typically printed on one or several pieces of paper and either mailed directly to the account holder's address, or kept at the financial institution's local branch for pick-up. Certain ATMs offer the possibility to print, at any time, a condensed version of a bank statement. In recent years there has been a shift towards paperless, electronic statements.
Historically, bank statements were paper statements produced quarterly or even annually. Since the introduction of computers in banks in the 1960s, bank statements are generally produced monthly. Bank statements for accounts with small transaction volumes, such as investments or savings accounts, are usually produced less frequently. Depending on the financial institution, bank statements may also include certain features such as the cancelled cheques (or their images) that cleared through the account during the statement period.
Today, the monthly sending of bank statements occurs in many countries, such as the US. It is not customary in countries such as Japan, where individual account holders are expected to keep track of deposits, withdrawals, and balances using their own passbooks at ATMs.
With the introduction of online banking, bank statements (also known as electronic statements or e-statements) can be viewed online. Due to identity theft concerns, an electronic statement may not be seen as a dangerous alternative against physical theft as it does not contain tangible personal information, and does not require extra safety measures of disposal such as shredding. However, an electronic statement can be easier to obtain than a physical through computer fraud, data interception and/or theft of storage media.
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