Hidden Bank Fees
Because they give their customers reason to feel suspect, unsafe, and suspicious. Or at least that is how I felt last week. Let me explain…..
I am, admittedly, paranoid about maintaining a stellar credit rating. That said, I’m human, and for the first time in a many, many years I missed a credit card payment. I was really frustrated with myself for overlooking it, but it does happen….even to (SHOCKER!) financial professionals.
I decided to enroll in an automatic payment program offered by my bank to avoid this pitfall in the future. I enrolled and was warned by the bank the process wouldn’t be complete until I received written confirmation. This month when my credit card statement rolled in, I logged in to make my payment. I received the following message on my screen:
“Our records indicate you have enrolled in AutoPay. If you choose one of the payment options below, it will be processed IN ADDITION TO* your scheduled AutoPay payment.”
So what does that statement say? It says it will process my payment IN ADDITION TO my AutoPay payment right? I remembered that I hadn’t received that “written confirmation” yet. But wait……the payment screen in front of me says I am enrolled, right?
HERE IS THE LESSON PEOPLE
If you ever, ever, ever receive any sort of confusing communication from a bank call to check it out! Which I did; I asked the customer rep if they would be pulling the automatic payment from my checking account. The rep, who was very kind, said “M’aam I show you are enrolled in AutoPay but it’s not yet activated so you have to make a payment.” I asked her why the web site was telling me if I made a payment it would be in addition to the scheduled AutoPay payment……she didn’t (surprise, surprise) have an answer to that question.
If I hadn’t called I would have tarnished my credit report (not to mention my financial self esteem). Additionally I would have been whacked with a $35 late fee, and probably a usurious change in my “good customer” interest rate. I wanted to share this experience with you so that the next time you set up an automatic payment with a banking institution, you make sure all your i’s are dotted, your t’s are crossed, and you make sure that payment goes out on time.