So I’ve been using the Alliant Rewards cards for almost a year now and using automatic payments for the entirety.
I log into my Schwab checking account and see my credit card payment - posted twice. Contacted Schwab, yep - posted twice on my account.
So I hit up Twitter while currently on hold trying to reach someone at Alliant. I get this reply:
"We’re sorry about that, XXXX! If you haven’t already, you’ll receive a message soon in online banking about the technical error. We’re making the corrections to your account ASAP. /1
You don’t need to take any action regarding the duplicate payment. Also, if the error created any issues on your payment account, please reply to the email in online banking so we can make things right. Sorry again for any inconvenience! /2"
What in the actual hell? This cannot be serious. How could they double deduct everyone’s account?
Hope no one else got hit with this, but it seems others have based on that Twitter reply!
I had this happen once with car insurance. Since then, I’ve learned some important advice.
Never EVER let ANYONE debit your bank account! Write a check or use your bank’s bill pay service.
Some will argue that writing a check these days creates an electronic debit and therefore – what’s the difference?
The difference is that a check is a tiny little contract that clearly demonstrates your intent.
A purely electronic debit on the other hand, creates a situation where you have given the credit card company (or the electric company, or the insurance company, or who ever…) authorization to take whatever money they deem acceptable from your bank account and your bank is powerless to intervene because there’s no way to demonstrate to your bank that the debit you authorized is actually beyond what you authorized! Allow it just ONCE and as far as your bank is concerned, you’ve allowed ANYTHING from that particular company.
The only way to avoid this problem is to NEVER EVER LET ANYONE debit money from ANY of your bank accounts! In other words, never let anyone PULL money from your account. Always PUSH money from your account by using your bank’s bill pay service. In this way, you’ve given the bank instructions on how much and where to send money. Then, if it is done in error, the bank is the one who’ll have to fix it.
Additionally, if you ever get in to financial trouble and you have to buy groceries instead of making the credit card payment, you can expect particularly aggressive creditors to “help themselves” to the payment they think that you owe and you won’t be able to do anything about it.
It may seem like its no big deal either way, but there’s no reason to relinquish control of your own bank account to anyone other than yourself.
I recently decided I was paying way too many bills manually and some could easily be automated. So I set up a monthly automatic savings to checking transfer followed by a few bill pays (fixed $). I try to not keep much money in checking and I don’t let anyone pull, except a student loan that gives 0.25% off for auto-debit.
BillPay is great and you can pay all your monthly bills in a few minutes. I only write a few checks a year now.
Most automatic payments are from my credit card on which I earn rewards, and on which it’s not a cashflow problem if someone accidentally double bills. So I have just one or two credit card bills to pay each month, which I pay directly from savings.
Billpay seems a lot more complicated. I pay health, auto, renters’ insurance, cable, cellphone, and a few other automatic bills with the 3% rewards card. Then I pay the credit card bill with a transfer from my savings account.