Bank statements versus transaction histories

Pages of bank statements

Home loan lenders will want bank statements and transaction histories to support your application. Find out why.

When you’re applying for a home loan, you’ll need to provide a number of documents to your lender. Two documents your lender may ask to see are a bank statement and a bank transaction history. These may seem like the same document, but the two actually accomplish different things.

Why do you need a bank statement?

A bank statement is a record that summarises your financial position at the end of a set period. Statements are usually issued monthly. They will include a summary of all the transactions for your account for that month. This means that anything you’ve spent or earned for the month will be reflected on the statement.

Lenders require a bank statement because it establishes a few details. It shows your current bank, your account number and your address.

Why do you need a transaction history?

A transaction history differs from a bank statement in that it is a record of all transactions for a set period. Unlike a bank statement, a transaction history allows you to choose the period you want reflected. For example, you could choose to see all the transactions on your account for the last three months.

Transaction histories also tend to be more recent. While a statement is issued at regular intervals and summarises predetermined periods, a transaction summary can be produced at any time and contains the most recent transactions, right up to the date you generate the summary.

Lenders may want to see a transaction summary because it gives a fuller picture of your financial habits and position. Because you can cover a longer period, your lender can identify spending habits, debt obligations, bills and regular income.

Unlike a bank statement, a transaction summary will not generally include details like your full name and address. Lenders may want to see both a statement and a transaction history because a statement will provide them with the identifying details they need while a transaction history will provide them with a more complete financial history.

What information should they include?

Bank statements and transaction histories have to include certain details before a lender will accept them. The information they contain is slightly different. For a bank statement, lenders will want to see the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your bank’s name
  • Your bank’s logo
  • Your account number
  • The period covered by the statement
  • The account’s opening and closing balances
  • A list of transactions during the period covered

Transaction histories will contain less identifying information but should include the following information:

  • Your account number
  • Your bank’s logo
  • A list of transactions for the period covered
  • A running balance

How do you get them?

It’s easy to obtain either a bank statement or a transaction history.

A bank statement is likely to be mailed to you each month. Alternatively, if you’ve chosen to receive your statements electronically, you’ll have your statement emailed to you. You should be able to download and print a PDF of your most recent statement.

If you can’t find your most recent statement, most banks allow you to generate statements through your online banking platform. Or, you can head to a bank branch and ask for a print-out of your most recent statement.

A transaction history will also be available through your online banking platform. You can also obtain a transaction history by heading to a bank branch and asking for a transaction history covering a specific period.

However, you should note that you don’t want to download either your statement or transaction history as a spreadsheet. Most online banking platforms will allow you to export a CSV of your statement or transaction history, but lenders will not accept these as supporting documents for a home loan application.

While bank statements and transaction histories are similar, the two serve different functions and provide different information to your lender. Together, statements and transaction histories help paint a picture of you and your financial habits so your lender can make sure your home loan is right for you.

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Image: Shutterstock

Adam Smith

Adam has more than five years of experience writing about the Australian home loan market.

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