Unfortunately, credit card bill mistakes happen. And they happen all the time. In situations like this, it is essential that you are aware of the credit card tips you can use to save money and time and most importantly fix any mistakes that you see.
If you follow the steps outlined in the article, you can work to dispute incorrect charges or pesky fees.
Here are the tips that we recommend to not fall into such traps:
1. Review Your Credit Card Statement Closely Every Month
This may seem to be obvious but is essential. Make sure that you know where every transaction is coming from.
For example, I always make sure that I am paying attention to how much I spend on each vendor and monitor my statement every few days. Another way you can do this effectively is compare your starting balance to how much you are ending with as the month progresses.
This can also help you set goals and see if you have fees that might not belong there. As part of the analysis, you should be making sure that there isn’t anything unfamiliar or any add-on bills or other recurring fee-based products showing up on your statement.
A month is a reasonable time slot because it is long enough for something to happen and short enough for you to handle disputes right away.
Most companies issue a monthly statement anyways so make sure that you are spending some time reviewing this summary diligently without fail. Remember that this process is super crucial to rebuilding your credit.
2. Contact Customer Service Right Away
All major credit card companies have phone numbers for their support lines. Most of them also take customer support issues very seriously. You may think of calling them as a pain, but it can be beneficial.
At the back of your statement, you should see a phone number you can reach them at. On the call, explain what is wrong. Customer service will listen and look into your problem. They often record phone conversations too so that they have your problem as a reference to look into later. If you think that your request isn’t being met or if you need proof of a previous conversation, don’t hesitate to use these recorded phone calls to your benefit.
Bug them constantly If You Have To
This may feel like something that makes no sense, but if you feel like you are unhappy with anything, definitely give them a call and see if they can do something for you. More often than not, they are looking for happy customers, so make sure you voice your concerns. If you feel like your interest rate is too high, ask them to lower it. If you feel that you want to be upgraded to a different credit card, make sure you ask them that also. Just yesterday, I went to a bank and bugged them for 45 minutes about this.
Write them a Letter
While this a more uncommon way, you might still want to send them a letter, so they have the issue in writing. It is crucial that you submit a written document to protect your legal rights.
Your monthly bill should lay out what this letter should include and what address to mail it to. It is important that you mail in this letter less than 60 days since the credit card company send you the statement where the error happened.
Always print out two copies. One you should send and keep one to yourself as proof of the document. Even if you are having the dispute cleared via phone, make sure that you submit written word as well.
In general, it should include:
- Your name
- Account number
- A clear description of the issue and why you feel the credit card company should take action
Check If It Has Been Fixed
Lastly, always make sure that you monitor the statements to see if the mistake has been fixed. Once you point out the error, the protocol says that the credit card company has 30 days to notify you that they received the letter. And after that, they have 60 days to finish looking into the dispute.
The disputed bill might still show up on your statement at this time, but there will be a warning written there that you do not have to pay the charge until they are done with the investigation.
If They Find That the Charge was Incorrect, They Have to Tell You:
- Why the charge is indeed correct
- Why you have to pay it
- How much you have to pay
- When you must pay it by
They will send you this summary once they finish looking into the dispute.
3. Keep Paying Back Old Charges Back on Time
While you might be dealing with an issue, it is vital that you don’t forget to pay the correct charges. Make sure you are keeping up with old costs as you would and then keep track of new expenses as well. The ones that are in dispute you do not have to pay while they are being investigated, but remember that you are still entirely responsible for all actual charges.
4. Set up Autopay / Bill Pay
Credit card companies are hoping that you will forget to make your bill. For this reason, turn on bill pay or auto pay so that you can be handsfree and don’t have to send in payments yourself. You can also choose to set it up such that it will make payments every 15 days so that you have lower amounts coming out of your credit card.
5. The 35/65 rule
Try to enforce the 35/65 rule, in which you never leave more than 65% of your bill unpaid each time you pay. This way you can demonstrate that you pay more than half of your monthly bill. This may require some smart planning but shouldn’t be too difficult.
6. Choose your Cards Carefully
There are many different types of cards: cash back, travel, premium, etc. See which one of these fits what you need best. Only if you are a frequent traveller, I would recommend the travel rewards card. Otherwise, the cash one is quite good and can make a huge difference since you receive 1% – 3% cash back each month.
7. Set up Reminders
Add a monthly calendar reminder so that you never miss your date. 35% of your FICO score is determined by making payments on time. Even if you will be out of town or something and it slips your mind, the reminder should help. You can also set up mobile alerts to send you reminders of important activity and reminders in your account.
In conclusion, it does happen every so often that there might be a wrong charge on your credit card. You will usually notice this when you check your bill and see that you have either spent too much or you have been wrongly charged for something.
As always, look into this and make sure you can react quickly to fix it. Also, make sure you are keeping all communication lines clear. This means making sure that you call them and send them letters to have this sorted out sooner rather than later.