I have my finances basically set up so that I do not need to log in to check anything. My ING account pays my credit cards and the car loan and all my other bills go to one or two cards.
I have everything set up according to my zero based budget so that I don’t go over in any one area when it comes to paying a bill. Two days ago I logged in to one of my credit cards to look at the data and make sure that it it matched up with all my receipts.
Now this is where the ‘fun’ begins.
I have two cards with this company and only one card is being used becuase it gives me cash back. ING had been sending paper checks to the company and since I put the ending numbers on the check the credit card company applied them to the correct card. After a few checks ING realized that this place accepts electronic payments so they switched the paper checks over. For some reason, the last two payments went to the OTHER card resulting in a credit on that card with a zero balance.
Now I caught this because I had made two large payments since I went over my budget last month preparing for my upcoming trip. The extra payments were set up differently from my regular payments so I knew that I would be covered and not be carrying a balance on those cards.
Imagine my shock to see that the card I had ‘paid’ was still carrying a balance and a very large one at that, after TWO additonal checks had been sent.
I quickly went into panic mode and started to hyperventilate. Why was there such a large balance on the card? Had my identity been stolen?
When I recovered a few seocnds later I decided to check all the other accounts with that company and saw that one card had a large credit balance. I dug deeper to find out that the credit was the two extra payments I had set up for the first card. Whew! Simply a technical error and easy to fix.
The representative said they would reverse the payments on the current card and apply them to the new card and even backdate the payments so I would not incur any fees.
They told me that the bill pay specifically stated that card B should be paid so that is why they applied the money to card B.
I then went to ING’s website to see what teh problem really was but the site was down.
My (slightly) anal personality does NOT want to wait until the technical difficulties have been resolved.
Me want in account NOW!!!! (cavewoman in me comes out).
Unfortunately, banging on the desk does not fix the website and only gives me a sore hand, so I wait until the site comes back up.
I log in and check all my payments and see that the problem is ………..me.
ING treats each card as a different entity and I had inadvertently set up the new electronic payments under another card with the same company. I now have to apologize (mentally) for all the bad things I said about the company in my head and fix the problem that I created.
I deleted the four weekly payments (set up according to my simplified budgeting process) and created new ones with the correct information.
I would not have noticed this if I had said my finances are automated so I never need to check them. I would have incurred late fees on the card because the payments were going to the wrong card and this might even cause my interest rates to go up as well.
By being vigilant, I managed to save money from interest and fees and found a problem that I had inadvertently created but was easy to fix.
How often do you check your automated finances?
You are so right. A lot of people set up automatic payment plans and walk away thinking there’s nothing more they need to do.
Another reason to check your automatic payments is that credit cards companies sometimes purposefully change their payment due dates moving them earlier in the month. In this way your automatic payment will now be late triggering late fees and penalty interest rate.
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I can’t even begin to tell the banking woes I have had since the recession has hit. It seems like the banks have had fun trying to mess everyone up even more than they messed themselves up! Checks are taking longer to clear and I actually had one bank close my account saying I owed money to another financial provider. I quickly got this resolved but it was quite the hassle. Therefor I have been hesitant to set up automated payments I like to know it is paid and I don’t have any issues.
@ Online College,
I can understand how you feel but sometimes automating really helps. Not to put a damper on anything but what happens if you have an emergency or end up in the hospital? Automating your finances makes a lot of sense there.
While it is true that I do check on my things every week I do so because automate does NOT mean set and forget. It just means that there is a little peace of mind for the times when I am not able to physically write a check or pick up the phone to pay a bill.
When I had my surgery and was laid up in bed for a week I was very happy to not have to think about the bills getting paid because everything was set.