Monday, February 06, 2006

Random Thought

Citibank, gotta love them, has sent my credit card to me without my apartment number. Kind of annoying but not really the end of the world. I was still able to call them to make the balance transfer and they offered to overnight me my card to the proper address. "No need" I tell them, "just send it regular mail". I figured I had no need to have the card in my hand by the next day so why go through all the trouble of sending it overnight. Plus, I was afraid that I might have to sign for it and I wouldn't be there, thus causing further delays...

Anyways, I still had some extra money lying around in my checking account (its a nice feeling) however the online payments hadn't been set up for my account (there is a 6 business day delay) and as I hadn't received my card yet I didn't know my account number and thus couldn't access the auto menu where I assume I would have been given the option to pay be phone. I have gotten in such a habit of making payments to my card whenever I had the money available that I decided I might as well call a customer service rep to make the payment over the phone. Mind you, the payment is not due until 2/23 so I still had plenty of time.

The lady I talked to was rather terse and interrogated me as if I was some sort of imposter trying to make a payment over the phone but I was fine with that as I would rather her give me the 3rd degree than not care at all. After a long series of questions she says, "Now you know, theres a $14.95 fee to process a payment over the phone, right?"

What? Are you kidding me? I told her to forget it of course; I didn't want to give them my money that bad after all. I told her it didn't make any sense in the nicest way possible to which she replied "Well, we are providing you a service by offering payments over the phone." Riiiiiiight.

So when did offering ways to pay them money become a service they provide? You would think that payment is just part of the deal. My car insurance company pulls the same trick. For every payment that you make they will charge a $3.00 fee. If you want to send in a physical check, well, that is an additional $10 fee. Naturally, I do not send them any checks.

So being a little annoyed but not really mad because it really had no negative affect on me besides having to wait a few days to make a payment I started thinking. Why was I in such a rush to pay them?

Part of it is that I am paranoid that if I am late for a payment my interest rate will go through the roof. But the major reason is habit. I got in the habit of sending in payments whenever I had the money was available so that I could lower the average daily balance thus lowering the amount of interest that I paid for the month. Now that I am not paying interest, I have no incentive to make extra payments before the 12 month 0% interest period is up so I could make the minimum payment, save the rest in a high yield savings account, and then once I have built up to the amount I owe, pay it off in 1 big payment.

If I did this over an 8 month period (which is the time I estimate it will take me to pay off the remaining debt) I could end up with an extra $120, which is not a lot but is more than I would have if I paid directly to my credit card.

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mbhunter said...

I hate those nickel and dime fees -- though that's quite a bit more. said...

what a crazy story. it never ends how they try to make money off of us, ya know :( but compliments on your attitude :)

Roz said...

And that's why you should look into Citibank and other bank's stocks.

That's what I like about banks, they ALWAYS find a way to make good profits. They nickel and dime into the hundreds of millions. And you can get a piece of the pie.

Instead of paying them $14.95 to process your payment, perhaps you should own a piece of them and gain some of those profits from fees into your portfolio or net worth . . . hmmmm.

Ideas are dangerous things, don't you think?