Do you carefully check your credit card statements, and review the transactions? It can help ensure that you’re not being charged unnecessarily for any “phantom” transactions, unauthorized purchases, or mistakes. I had an experience recently that serves as another example of why we take the time to at least scan through our statements each month.
First off, I make it a practice to pay off any bills in full each month. I don’t like to carry credit card balances, and simply don’t do that. Rather, I pay it all in full and on time each month. So, when reviewing a credit card bill, I typically don’t think of there being any issues in those areas. I’m usually focusing on transactions instead.
A recent review of a statement showed that all the transactions seemed fine, but something else jumped out at me: an interest charge! Impossible, right? After all, I pay may bills on time and in full, so there should be no problems.
Immediately, I called the credit card company. After describing the situation, and asking why it happened, it turns out that my last payment had been received late. Now, that’s not something I wanted to hear, since you just don’t want to be paying bills late. There must have been some kind of mistake on their part!
Well, after they described the situation, I froze for a second and realized that I had been busy the month before and my payment was made close to the deadline. I normally don’t do that, but it was just one of those things. However, I pay bills online and the payment date was supposed to be right at the deadline date. Apparently, it must have hit right after that so thus the late fee.
Ouch. Obviously, if you read this blog, you know that this is NOT something I would be happy about. Being someone that takes pride in financial responsibility, I didn’t like that this happened.
I explained the situation to the person on the phone, and stated that I pay my bills on time in full every month, and that was the reason I was surprised and called. The guy on the line then said he would make sure that the fees were reversed and charges removed. Great!
After getting charges reversed, I felt some satisfaction in knowing that reviewing a credit card statement saved money. Of course, I also learned a lesson that even people who are responsible can slip and make a mistake by procrastinating. Best to pay bills well ahead of the deadline, to avoid any situations like this where you have to call. Minimizing credit card expenses is a good thing.
Finally a big thing I learned from the experience is that building up a stellar track record of paying in full on time can build goodwill.
My Questions for You
Do you review your credit card statements each month?
Have you ever found any surprise charges on there? If so, how did you handle the situation?
What is your process for making the payments each month?