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?