Credit card billing bizarreness

Effing banks and their credit cards, man.

Please “eli5” me this and how it makes sense:

For my cc bill due at the end of August I mis-keyed the payment amount and ended up getting an interest charge shown on my bill due at the end of September. I always pay the full balance due to avoid interest, but I messed up this time. When the rep made me realize the mistake I made, she volunteered to remove the interest charge (8 bucks and change) so I said fine.

Despite the reversal of that interest charge, out of an abundance of caution, I actually paid the full balance shown on my statement on or before the September 27th due date. To my dismay, I get my new statement yesterday, generated after that payment, and now there are 12 more dollars and change to pay as an interest charge (8 and change of which were somehow covered by the previous interest charge reversal, but still).

WTAF? What happened to “Pay full balance on statement by due date to avoid interest?” Am I now locked in some bizarre cycle of paying interest forever till the end of time because I mistakenly paid 20 bucks less than a full $750 balance once?

While you’re paying the full balance every month, new purchases have a grace period until the next payment date before they start accruing interest. But if you miss a month, you lose that grace period, and everything starts accruing interest the day you charge it.

It sounds like they reversed the interest charge, but didn’t reinstate your grace period. Since you have now paid the full statement balance, you should get the grace period again starting next billing cycle, but it would be worth contacting them again to see if they can reverse the new charge as well.

I understand the part you mention in your first paragraph. What I don’t get is how their software isn’t bright enough to do the operation: “Does payment made on time = full balance due? If YES, then no further interest charge.”

I mean, presumably that would have happened for my current statement if I hadn’t made the call and gotten the interest charge reversed last month, right?

Ugh I beat myself up for like a solid week after the one time I incorrectly paid a bill, and got hit with a fee.

I think that I’m accustomed to how it used to be, that you got a fresh grace period for purchases less than 30 days old (in my case for September) granted retroactively if you paid the bill in full by the end of September (for purchases made before the end of August). Now that grace period is gone. You fail to pay the bill due at the end of August in full, you’re paying interest on the ADB for the July, August AND September purchases. It sucks.

Contact them again and I think they will take care of you. I have Visa with Wells Fargo and recently missed a payment date and had a late charge of $37. I called them and said I had made payment on time for 40 years and they were happy to remove the late fee. I was told that interest was not supposed to be charged and to call them if it was, It was and I called and it was removed.

I’ve saved a couple hundred bucks over the years by asking, “would you please help me understand why I had this fee?” followed by, “thank you. Would you be willing to waive it this time?”

I pay my credit card bills in full every two weeks specifically to avoid bullshit like this.

Every two weeks? How does that work? You don’t get biweekly statements, I assume.

Indeed not. I have a Google Calendar reminder and every other Wednesday it sends me an email reminding me to pay my credit card bills, which I then log in and do (after reviewing the charges to make sure they’re valid, of course).

Yeah, I pretty much do the same thing, though I am less organized about it. I usually pay every card to 0 twice a month.

Exactly what I do. Check around the beginning of the month, then again around the 15th, and pay down to $0.

While I don’t go full pay-twice-a-month craziness I do have two credit cards I can cycle between using. Both have decent cash-back rewards schemes and $0 annual fees. One has slightly better cash-back terms so I primarily use that but if I think there’s going to be any hinkiness with grace periods or not being able to pay in full immediately or whatnot I just switch to the other one for a month. Buys me time to ensure that the primary card is truly and fully paid off completely.

I also keep all the automatic recurring payments on the secondary card because the primary one gets used everywhere which means there’s an unacceptably high risk of it being stolen in some random merchant breach. Which did in fact happen to me just a couple of months ago, but the replacing it with a new CC number was pretty painless because I had the other card to use in the interim and none of my recurring payments had to be changed.

So you call in/check online and get the current balance figure?

Yes, I log in to the issuer’s website and look at my current balance and make sure all the charges are things I can account for, then I pay the current balance.