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Old 05-11-2013, 10:32 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by retire@40 View Post
Wouldn't it be easier if you just set up autopay for the entire balance due?

It solves this problem, gives you one less thing to worry about, and saves you the stamp.

Setting up a lazy-man system saves you from trying to be careful.
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Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
Not a bad strategy as long as you audit every transaction on every statement ... and you maintain an awareness of your running balance at all times and have enough cash in your payment account to cover it. FWIW, this is what I do. Quicken makes it pretty easy.
+1 On Jan 1, 2012, I set up all of my bills on auto-pay. I still get to review bills/statements before they are paid like I did before and can object to any suspicious charges. In reality, I do it each time I import my transactions into Quicken and accept each transaction. I do this every few days so the transactions are pretty fresh in my mind.

I also have each bill set up in Quicken as a bill with the normal monthly amount (estimated for bills that vary from month to month like credit card bills). My home screen on Quicken shows a graph of the projected balance in the checking account that I use to pay bills for the next 90 days so I can at a glance see if I need to make an additional transfer from savings (beyond my monthly automatic transfer).

I've been doing this now for 16 months. I've never had a problem, it works like a charm, I don't need to worry about bills not being paid on time or the wrong amount being paid (like what happened to the OP).

I was skeptical at first since I liked having "control" over payments and had for years paid (pushed) bills electronically. My daughter has done this for years and suggested it - I can honestly say it has been one of the best things I have done - makes life much easier.
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustward View Post
Not a bad strategy as long as you audit every transaction on every statement ... and you maintain an awareness of your running balance at all times and have enough cash in your payment account to cover it. FWIW, this is what I do. Quicken makes it pretty easy.
I do and assume any logical personal would.

When I get my credit card statements, I check each item and attach all credit card receipts to that statement as supporting proof.

I also post each item in QuickBooks to keep track of my YTD spending as compared to my personal budget.

The credit card statement says, "On [future date] $XXXX.XX will be auto deducted from your bank account." I record that amount in my checkbook register to keep an accurate running balance (which I also post in QuickBooks to offset the charges) and I am done.

IOW, I run my personal finances like a business.
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:53 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
I do not have a checking account with the credit card institution, so the autopay idea would not work. If I did have autopay, I would need to maintain a large cash balance in my checking account due to the variability of credit card bills from month to month. I do all my financial transactions online, so no stamps are involved. I made a visual processing error between 1 and 7, that's all. Having bills on autopay does not remove the need to be careful. You still need to check for inappropriate charges.
I don't understand the comment that you "do not have a checking account with the credit card institution, so the autopay would not work."

How do you pay the credit card balance? Use that account for autopay.

Also, I do not understand the comment "I would need to maintain a large cash balance in my checking account due to the variability of credit card bills from month to month."

Don't you pay the full balance on your credit card each month anyway? If so, you do maintain a large enough balance to cover those payments. You know by the credit card statement weeks in advance what the autopay amount will be, so it's not like it would be a surprise on the day the amount is autodeducted.

Checking appropriate charges has nothing to do with making sure you make the correct monthly payment. These are mutually exclusive items. You ALWAYS check each line item charge regardless of how you pay the bill. So having autopay DOES remove the need to be careful about paying the correct amount.

I have been doing autopay on credit card invoices, utilities, etc for over a decade for both myself and for my business and NEVER had a problem.

I hope these comments and suggestions help you and others run your financial life more efficiently and with less stress.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:34 AM   #24
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Well, I screwed up. I made a typo and paid $1117 instead of $1177 on a credit card bill. My next bill shows $24 in interest charges, 12 days later. It turns out that interest is being charged on the entire bill, not just the $60 difference between what I paid and should have paid. The financial institution has agreed to reverse the interest charge as I am a longstanding customer, but it just goes to show how careful you have to be to avoid getting gouged.
I did the same thing a few years ago, but my error was in the cents column. I was only 14 cents short, which meant my next statement included interest like yours on the whole previous balance. Like you, I called Visa and immediately got credited for the 14 cents with the intetest waived. I haven't done it again!

I don't use autopay on anything.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:39 AM   #25
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I did this once. I also recently discovered that with Schwab one can set up autopay for the total amount due for variable bills, such as credit cards. Wish I had figured that out sooner.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:47 AM   #26
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I did the same with an even smaller amount... it about the same money, but the last digit was an 8 and I saw it on my screen as a 6... so I was only $2 off....


My eyesight is not good and I do not like bifocals even though I should use them.... it is funny since I had them for many years when I was young...

Heck, even posted this wrong.... I was 2 CENTS off.... not 2 dollars...
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:18 AM   #27
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This is exactly why I do not give anyone draft access to my account - an "isolated" incident (strategic choice of words, as it affected all of their customers) in which a zero was added to the end of all balances due. A monthly gas bill for $100 resulted in $1000 being withdrawn from customers accounts:

Atmos Energy News
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:25 AM   #28
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While they always reverse it - I have had a few times where I paid my balance in full before the billing cycle date and then got a late payment the next month since I ignored the bill since I knew I had already made a payment, but had made a few small charges between the payment and the final billing cycle.

I need to setup the automatic payment option to preclude this, but I just hate anything automatic since I have had problems in the past getting anything I automated to stop after the account was closed...
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:35 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by LakeTravis View Post
This is exactly why I do not give anyone draft access to my account - an "isolated" incident (strategic choice of words, as it affected all of their customers) in which a zero was added to the end of all balances due. A monthly gas bill for $100 resulted in $1000 being withdrawn from customers accounts:

Atmos Energy News
I don't see this as a problem. The vendor made a mistake, acknowledged it, fixed it and made customers whole. It seems to me that the risk of me making a mistake and having a problem like the OP had are a lot greater than the vendor making a mistake.

What isn't clear is if the problem applied to all autopay customers or a subset of autopay customers.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:03 AM   #30
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All of the retailers you buy from pay 2-3% whether you pay any interest or not.
Good point Dave. I think from now on I'll request a 2% discount for cash since the credit card would charge them at least that amount. Anyone ever try that at a retail store? Just for the hell of it, next time I make a major purchase I'm going to spring that on 'em. Can't use the Discover card because I get 2% cash back anyway.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:43 PM   #31
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Do everything with auto-pay either with Bank or from Credit Card, if allowed, to get cash back bonus or whatever. Have to admit though I don't look at it. Recently got a new infinity card with BoA and had trouble setting up auto-pay so called BoA, they "helped me" and it was done wrong. I new something was wrong when it was refused for payment a store. So I called and explained, BoA rep. really could have cared less, assessed interets on whole balance and late fees. I paid everything in full right then and said I wanted the card cancelled, no problem for BoA rep. just did it. Now I just received a bill for the residual interest due. So will do that manually. Just an unpleasant "auto-pay" story. Lesson learned for me: keep an eye on it at initial set-up to make sure it's right. I seem to pay more attention to credit cards though to make sure if I have a credit coming it actually happens, because then you have vendor and CC company involved on your behalf. Also, the worse, maybe there is another post on this, but I do check credit card debits frequently and sad to say in the past 3 years have caught sooner than later fraudulent use. The amount of effort to fix it varies widely from issuer to issuer, Discover has been the best in my experience.
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Old 05-12-2013, 02:53 PM   #32
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You might want to check on that.

All my credit cards are on autopay for the full monthly balance, and the money comes from a different institution in every case but one.

All I have to do is make sure there is enough in the applicable checking account a couple of days before the credit card is due to be autopaid.
Unfortunately, even in 2013, there are some credit cards that don't allow autodebit (like my Fidelity Investments Visa!). the only one I have that makes me log in each month to my bank to fill out the bill pay amount.
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:10 PM   #33
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I have two credit cards, AmEx and Fidelity Visa. Both autodebit from my bank account. Autodebit is more of a worry for me using companies like Comcast, whose internal internal administrative processes are designed to obfuscate or deter, but I still use them and prefer that to making monthly payments.
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Old 05-12-2013, 03:14 PM   #34
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Yes I pay full balance as well. But there is one problem I have acquired with everything on auto pay: I have a money clip with a few cards and some cash, I usually only put in in my pocket when I going to be out and need it, LT results: 1) I forget it a lunch so friends have to pay for me and they are convinced it part of my 'get rich' plan - I always pay back by paying the next time for them and if it's more than I owed, my a few dollars, don't care; 2) live in a small downtown area and people know me, walk most the time, when going to the grocery store for example, they let us use the reusable bags to put food stuff in and then take it to the check-out. I've found myself a couple of times waving goodbye and walking out the door only to realize that I did not checkout and pay. I think I've lost connection with paying for things because in my mind it's all on "auto". Anyway, try to watch myself and people I know have gotten use to it and it's now kind of running joke.
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