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Sample passbook (open), containing the same transactions as the bank statement

A passbook or bankbook is a paper book used to record bank transactions on a deposit account. Depending on the country or the financial institution, it can be of the dimensions of a chequebook or a passport.

Traditionally, a passbook is used for accounts with a low transaction volume, such as a savings account. The bank teller or postmaster writes, by hand, the date and amount of the transaction, the updated balance, and enter his or her initials. In the late 20th century, small dot matrix or inkjet printers were introduced to update the passbook at the account holder's convenience, either at an automated teller machine or a passbook printer, either in a self-serve mode, by post, or in a branch.

A page with a pre-printed table. It has handwritten entries showing amounts of deposits and withdrawals, and the balance. Each entry has a post office date stamp.
The Post Office Savings Bank introduced passbooks to rural 19th century Britain

For people who feel uneasy with telephone or online banking, this is an alternative to obtain, in real-time, the account activity without waiting for a bank statement. However, contrary to some bank statements, some passbooks offer fewer details, replacing easy-to-understand descriptions with short codes, also known as mnemonics.

See also


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