Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Credit Card Interest Rollercoaster

I admit it. I forgot to pay my credit card bill back in June. By the time I realized what had happened, my payment was 10 days late. Unfortunately, it’s been three months now and I can’t seem to get off the credit card interest rollercoaster.

I’ve received good advice in the past to just call the credit card company and get them to reverse the interest because this was a simple mistake. I didn’t bother because the amount was small, and I felt like I deserved my fate.

Initially, in an attempt to get back on the straight and narrow, I found out what I owed in total (including recent purchases) and paid a little more thinking that that would end the interest cycle. When the next bill came it had interest on it again. The amount was even smaller, but still annoying.

Once again, I found out my total amount outstanding including recent purchases and paid a little more. Once again, this month’s bill has interest on it. The amount of interest is smaller still, but somehow more annoying.

It’s time to try something different. I’ve already paid enough to cover the bill plus recent purchases plus a buffer of about $13. My plan now is to not use the credit card again until they stop charging me interest.

I doubt that this is what the credit card company had in mind when they set the rules that seem to make it impossible to get out of the cycle of interest, but it’s a game for me now. I have no problem paying cash for a while.


  1. I similarly got caught this month -- paid based on my internet website, rather than the invoice, and got dinged with interest ($0.51). So, I called the credit card company and had then fax me the exact dollar amount I needed to pay to clear the card, then paid it. This way I have a record FROM THEM stating the amount to pay, so I can argue further interest if charged.


  2. CC: I'm with you on the not wasting time reasoning. I'm having more fun not using my card than I ever would spending a half hour on the phone trying to sort this out. I just paid cash for gas for my car for the first time in years.

    DAvid: Your strategy may work better than what I did. Is the amount they told you somehow different from the total amount owing? Each time I tried to "clear" my card, I paid not only the amount owing on my statement but also the total amount of purchases that I'd made but wouldn't appear until the next statement plus a little more as a buffer. This didn't work for me twice.

    1. The first reply above is to a comment by Canadian Capitalist:

      Sometimes, calling in isn't worth the hassle. The other day I found that Rogers has overcharged us 30 cents by mistake. A call would reverse the charge but I'm not inclined to waste 30 mins. chasing 30 cents.