Why I Hate Credit Cards - Unknown Refund Check Policies

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Why I Hate Credit Cards - Unknown Refund Check Policies

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I hate credit cards. With a passion.

I take full responsibility for my own actions of misusing them as a financial tool that resulted in an almost incomprehensible mountain of debt. But, I still have some serious negative feelings about how the companies that issue these lines of credit operate.

As we completed our debt consolidation plan, I discovered a new reason to hate credit card companies: refund checks. 

The final payments to most of our accounts resulted in a balance of exactly zero, however we had four accounts to three different creditors that were accidentally overpaid. 

The way in which each of the creditors handled the refunding of the overpayment varied significantly:

Chase: Less than one week after the overpayment was posted to the account, a refund check was found in our mailbox. Even though Chase was the creditor that really pushed us over the financial cliff, kudos to Chase for handling this spectacularly.

Discover: Two months later, we accidentally overpaid Discover. Hoping that they would follow in Chase's footsteps, we patiently waited for the refund check to show up in the mail. After two weeks my wife called and asked what how long it would take for the overpayment to be refunded to us. 

Their response was asking her if she wanted to initiate a refund check. Rolling her eyes, she responded, "Of course," and then went on to ask how long it would have taken had she done nothing. They were unable to answer that question.

Bank Of America: We had two BoA accounts, both of which we overpaid on our final month. Two weeks later my wife called and asked the status of a refund check, or (learning from our experience with Discover) if we could initiate the refund. The person she spoke with said we had two choices:

1.) We could give them our bank's routing number and checking account number and he could refund our money immediately.

2.) We could wait for the account to cycle again, which would be two full months after the overpayment.

There was no way we were giving BoA our checking account information, so we decided to take option 2.

She asked if the check would be automatically sent during the next cycle or if we would have to call again.  

He was unable to answer that question. Or, he simply refused to answer that question. But he again really pushed us giving him our checking account information.

We decided to wait until the next billing cycle, and if we didn't see the check we would call again. Less than a week later both checks showed up in the mail - long before the accounts cycled again. Weird, huh?

The overpayment was 100% our fault. 

Had we been more diligent in determining how much we needed to send for our final payment we would have not had to deal with this situation at all. That being said, you would think that the credit card company representatives would be able to answer simple questions about how their overpayment refund process works.

Have you ever overpaid a creditor? How long did it take to be refunded?

Related Links:

Residual Interest; Why Your Last Payment to a Creditor May Not Close Your Account

Supporting my Success with MyCareOne Online Tools

Can You Get an Unsecured Loan While Enrolled in a Debt Consolidation Program?

Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

To connect with Travis on Google+ click the

You can follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Before we started the DMP, I was playing the transfer game.  We used a 0% balance transfer to pay off the Dell account.  I included "extra" for that month's interest.  After the statement posted, I realized that Dell did not charge any interest because the balance was paid in full by the due date.  I called to inquire about the refund and the rep told us it was already in process.  We had a refund check in the mail less than two weeks after overpayment the account!

    But, I am still paying the Dell account.  I realize now that when an account is paid off, I have to CLOSE it.  If not, there's always a reason that seems reasonable for me to use the account again (the kids really, really NEEDED the 3DS systems for Christmas!)  Want to guess who doesn't even touch those game systems anymore?  But I'm still paying them off:(

  • @ondecker - We can always find a way to justify the use, right ondecker?  I'm the same way.  When I tell other people that I no longer wish to carry or use credit cards, I get a lot of "but you can earn rewards!" answers.  yeah, those rewards aren't worth it if I'm paying through the nose in interest because I've again abused the account.  No thanks!  thanks for sharing!

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