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Current vs. available: It’s a balancing act

When it comes to checking, the world is divided into two distinct sides: Current and available balances.

And the balances don’t always match, which can be confusing to the owner of the account.

“We have a lot of members come through the teller line thinking they had more in their account than they did, and it’s because they didn’t understand the difference between current balance and available balance,” says Brittany Muntz, operations assistant and lending consultant at Dupaco Community Credit Union’s Pennsylvania Avenue branch.

So, what gives? How can one account show two different balances?

The current balance reflects the amount of money in the account at that time, while the available balance factors in pending credit transactions and other limitations, representing the amount of money you can actually access.

“Any time you use your debit card as a credit transaction, it pulls from your checking account – but not right away,” Muntz says. “Members should always be referring to their available balance, because that subtracts all of those transactions that are still pending.”

To avoid any surprises with your account balance, it’s important to diligently track the money that’s coming in and going out of your account. Dupaco helps you do that through a variety of avenues:

Old-fashioned checkbook register: While many have abandoned registers, the old-school money management tool still has its place. When you record all of your purchases, ATM withdrawals and deposits, you know your true balance at any given time.
Shine Mobile Banking: Dupaco’s mobile banking website and app keep your accounts and other information at your fingertips wherever you go.
Shine Online Banking: Dupaco’s Shine Online Banking offers an array of tools, including eNotifiers, which let you know via e-mail or text that the balance in any designated account has dropped to a certain level.

“It’s important to stay on top of your finances, so we encourage members to use whatever method works best for them,” Muntz says.