Bank of America, You sneaky ba$tard

June 8, 2009 · 9 comments

I’ve been with Bank of America for a little over a year now, as they are the bank that manages my Alaska Airlines Credit Card . I’ve wrote about it many times before, but I will reiterate: I use my credit card for every purchase  I possibly can. I even used it once for a 47 cent purchase for garlic at a grocery store (I know it’s pathetic). I’d pay my student loans and my rent on the card if I could.

Stacking up all my purchases over a one month time period usually means I have a nice $1,000 to $1,500 bill to be paid off…and you better believe I alwyas pay that balance in full. I often chuckle when I see “$15″ as my minimum monthly payment. Although it would be nice to only fork out 15 bucks and keep the rest in my savings, I know that is the stupidest financial move one can make. I have learned to cope with the pain of parting with “four figures” each month.

I’ve had the card for 18 months now, and every time I go to make a payment, Bank of America tries to pull a fast one on me. Wanna know how? When I click on the “Pay Now” button to make my big payment, all of the information is pre-populated for me. That’s right, B of A decides that my payment will be made on the latest possible date and that payment will ONLY be the minimum balance. Instead of leaving all the fields blank, they subliminally try to trick you in to making only a minimum payment. There have been a few times where I wasn’t really paying attention and I processed on to the next page. Luckily, I always noticed on the “confirm payment” page that I was only paying $15 when I meant to pay $1,500 and quickly corrected the action.

Accident? I think not! They know exactly what they are doing. I think they have two goals in pre-populating the payment field. The lazy will think “Oh that’s nice B of A suggests I make the minimum payment. I guess that sounds good.” I’m willing to bet a ton of people don’t pay more on their credit cards because of the conveinence of submitting the auto-populated form (It’s kinda like “one click” shopping).  And even for those of us with the best intentions, I’m sure some don’t realize they make a minimum payment, when they intended to pay the full balance. Thus, the bank collects interest on their remaining balance for at least a few days before that action can be corrected.

Moral of the story…. I love my credit card, but I also know it should be registered as a lethal weapon. You have to know you what you’re dealing with and learn to suffer the consequences of any unintentional mistakes. Anyone else notice their CC companies do the same thing? Is this just a B of A thing? Or even worse, have you ever fell victim to one of these devilish tricks?

{ 9 comments }

1 calquist

I don't see this with my Discover card. It automatically chooses today's date and then gives you the option to switch and you have 3 radio buttons to choose from : Minimum balance, current balance and other (fill in the blank).

Very very shady.

My Express card is pretty shady. Same day processing is a $10.00 fee, so you have to make sure to pay before the due date.

2 Donnie

My 1st Financial Bank USA (prey's on college students) card, is extremely tricky.

If I make an online payment through their site, they sock me with a $9 fee. That is just nuts. If you paid what your balance says you owe online, you would never pay off your card.

Oh, I owe $200; okay lets pay $200.
Next month, I owe $9, okay I'll pay $9.
Next month, I owe $9, okay I'll pay $9.

So I pay that bill using online bill pay through my bank instead.

3 Punch Debt In The Face

@ Calquist- Discover card sounds legit…no shady business practices going on there. American Express sounds like a different story though.

@ Donnie- That card is absolutely disgusting. I would kick them in the gonads if I could. That's the dumbest system ever, but I'm glad you figured out a way to make it work. Just out of curiosity why do you stick with them?

4 Irina I

Fascinating! I'll check on Wells Fargo and report back.

5 Donnie

@ D.Ninja – I stick with it, because it is the card I have had open the longest, and it makes up around half of my total credit limit.

It also has a horrible 16.9% interest rate, but I don't keep a balance on the card. It is just there for my credit rating.

6 Punch Debt In The Face

@ Irina – Please, do I'd be curious to know what Wells does.

@ Donnie- That makes sense. You could just leave the card open but never use it and then get a more convenient card…but then again I guess I could do that too…haha

7 Anonymous

I help my family run a trucking business, and I've always paid the credit card bills with checks, avoid the online sneakiness.

8 MoneyFunk

Oh, I love your blog! Glad I found!

I know what you mean about BofA. I have the Hawaiian Airlines BofA CC. And I come across the same sneaky issue(s) as you. Unfortunately, I am not at the same level as you… able to charge and pay off in full each month. I am on the Snowball-the-CC-payment-until-all-gone.

9 Punch Debt In The Face

You'll get there soon enough money funk, just keep paying down that debt and one day you're CC will be an asset and not a liability!

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