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Background

 

My gas card changed ownership banks, so I went into Internet banking to change the address that my payments go to.

It wouldn't let me. The page said basically, "We already know where to send your money. Trust us."

If you are interested in my musings about this, please hop over the pile of shredded dollars:

Background continued

Mr. Moneybags from Monopoly game.

So, I called, and over two days talked with two Internet banking people at my bank, who could not confirm new bank ownership for the gas card or a new address for my payment. They said pretty much the same thing. "We have a relationship with Conoco and we can assure you your payment will go to the right place, but no, I can't tell you where that is." I just wanted to make sure my next payment went to the new place, and not the old place.

(Please don't yell at me about Conoco. That's for another diary, another day, perhaps.)

I was trying to be responsible, and follow up on the address change (as the new bank also tells you to be sure to do when they send out the new info).

After awhile it really irritated me that I let them hold my money, and they send it out to my vendors, but they won't tell me where.

The Point


The point of this really is that I learned some huge corp., not my bank, actually sends out all the payments. Now that I think it through I realize it was naive to think my bank did it. The reason my bank couldn't confirm anything is because they don't actually know. When I log into Internet Banking at my bank, I think I am interacting with my bank, but no, I am sending my info to some unknown megacorp.

I've heard a Kossack or two mention that they don't use Internet banking for privacy reasons. Now I see that there is probably one huge company processing all of these 'bill pays' at banks all over the country. All of our transactions are conveniently all in one place. Gee, to whose advantage is that, I wonder?

What to do?


I know it would be smart to cancel all this Internet banking, but honestly, I am not sure I can handle it. Doing it this way has kept me on time with all of my bills for many years. Several years ago I missed a gas and electricity bill. Just spaced it out. Got the next month's bill with 2 month's due. It freaked me out so much that I signed up at the electric company for automatic withdrawals out of my bank of the payment each month. Something I had previously sworn I would never do.

All of my other bills go from the bank to the vendor. The electric bill is the only one that is taken by the vendor from the bank. I do get email notifications each month when the payment is pending and how much it is, so at least I don't lose the sense of how much my electric bill is each month. (More personal information in my emails for everyone to read.)


Not really an aside. Kind of another point

I used to like these email notifications until I realized, now in addition to every conversational email I send, every confirmation email I get from somewhere I purchased something online, and now all of my banking info is hoovered up for any old body at The NSA, local authorities, who knows really, to see. I get email notifications when any transaction is made out of all my accounts. Pending payments scheduled, deposits made, charges hitting the bank, etc.

I don't think we should be discussing who should keep the information gathered through spying. I think it should be deleted.

History


(Wanted to mention that it sure wasn't always this way, as far as the way I pay my bills. More years of my life have been spent previously juggling and being late, struggling, than have been spent actually being able to pay them. It's been maybe not quite a decade that I've not had to juggle mostly just for the basics and to exist.
Piggy bank


As I look back, mostly I worked so I could afford gas to get back to work.

  

Funny that I can tie this into the entire diary about the gas card. It occurs to me as I type this, that I recall applying for the card as soon as things started looking up and I felt that my credit was sufficiently improved that they might say yes, so that in a future worse case scenario, I could charge gas to get to work.

Gas gauge
Did I apply for a department store card, or another card? No. I applied for a gas card, lol.

Maybe that is influencing me as far as not wanting to go back to sitting at the table with my check book and stamps. What bad memories. I don't forget though. I will never forget. I will always understand what others are going through, and what I went through. I know I could be there again any day.)

Dream

I would really like to be off the grid. Cash only. No records. Privacy. I'm not doing anything illegal or weird, but I just don't like my every move open to strangers to view.

Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 6:53 AM PT: Thank you very much to our Rescue Rangers (Community Spotlight). Very nice of you. :) I appreciate it. :)

Originally posted to OLinda ☕ on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The explanation (6+ / 0-)

    You gave your gas card company  what is known in the UK as "Variable Direct Debit Authority" which told the bank to pay your bill when requested by the company. In other words, you have written a blank check for them to demand the money you owe that month from your bank. You are notified when the payment will be taken and the gas card company requests the money from your bank.

    The fact that the card company has changed hands does not alter the arrangements and there is no need for you to make any changes to the authority.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:42:58 PM PDT

    •  authority (5+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure that's correct. I didn't give the card company information. I signed up with my bank to pay my bill. I don't tell them what my bill total is each month. The card company can't just say "pay this amount." I suppose if I were far in arrears, they could, but so could any creditor.

      I can enter any payment amount I want each month. Usually I just have it set to do a recurring $50 on a certain day each month. I change it when I feel like it.

      •  I strongly doubt that is the case. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, oortdust

        I find your suggestion that $50 is sent to the gas card company (keeping it neutral) every month puzzling. Isn't what you have actually done is give authority for up to $50 each month to be deducted from your bank account?

        I presume you do not use $50 exactly of gas each and every month so it looks like you have set up a variable authority with a maximum of $50. If I am wrong, what happens to the balance, positive or negative, after the payment has been made?  I have a variable direct debit for my domestic gas and electricity account but in that case the amount is the same each month until an annual review and the "variable" bit means I do not have to issue a new authority every time it changes. Through the year I am either in credit or debt to Npower but this should balance out by the end of the year as the monthly payment takes account of likely peak usage (in Winter for heating for example).

        If your card can only be used at specific gas stations run by Conoco or those who participate in their scheme, the card is the equivalent of a store card. Conoco contract with a major provider of such cards to provide the service - in your case apparently this changed between GM Finance and Citi. Did the account number change with the new card? If so, it would tend to indicate that Conoco have simply changed the card provider they work with. If not, it would indicate Conoco have a separate accounting system which is doubtful. Their only interest in the card is having their name on it to tie you to using their stations. They get paid for the gas from the gas station and in turn GM/Citi pay them. Conoco never see any money identifiable to you.

        I'll use the layout for data used in the UK as I know it but the system in the USA should be similar.

        Your bank's local office is identified by 6 digits. In the UK the first two are the bank and the last four the exact branch (big banks have several 2 number codes). The individual's bank account is identified by an 8 number code followed by a name. You will likely see these in machine readable form at the bottom of your checks or paying-in slips. Payments will have a unique identifier from your bank(previously the check number) and will identify the card account holder (you) to the payee, usually by a "reference number" to make sure the payment is applied to your account.  

        Requests for payment via a direct debit include a DD authority reference so the card company will send a set of data using this together with your details and the details of the beneficiary and reference number. So decoding the data to plain English will reveal something like:

        To:  Big Bank 12,

        Please make a payment $xx.xx from account number 12345678 held at your branch number 12.34.56 in the name of OLinda to Conoco card services, account number 87654321 at bank 65.43.21, reference xxxxxxxxxxxxx using debit authority yyyyyyy.

        All banks would have been advised of the change of these payment details so a request to withdraw funds from your account would not be blocked by an automatic verification system.

        By the way, all of your purchases are probably processed through either Visa or MasterCard who provide on line verification for units like ATMs and the card readers in shops and self serve gas pumps. They also act as a "clearing house" for any paper only transactions using their cards.

        The above is a very simplified description of the data trail but it is perfectly possible for you to have a store/gas card in the name of the retailer but actually run by (say) Citi with all purchases passing through Visa without there being "nefarious" reasons for the multiple corporations involved.

        "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 09:27:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sydneyluv, oortdust, Odysseus, RainyDay

          I find your suggestion that $50 is sent to the gas card company (keeping it neutral) every month puzzling. Isn't what you have actually done is give authority for up to $50 each month to be deducted from your bank account?

          I don't know why you find it puzzling. And, it was not a suggestion. It was a statement of fact of what I do. I have my Internet banking set up to send Conoco (or the bank handling Conoco's account) $50 each month.

          Maybe my bill is $100, but as you should know, I don't have to pay it in full each month. It is a credit card. I know $50 more than covers (usually double) what my minimum payment will be. So, I have it set to automatically send that much each month. On a rare month, I may change it to more, or less, but not often. If I do want to change the amount, I just log into my bank web site and do it. There are times when I don't charge much, and my balance gets low, or rarely but occasionally to zero, so in those cases, I make adjustments.

          I am getting the impression from many comments in this thread that many people do not know what Internet Banking is.

          •  Explained (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BYw, TheMeansAreTheEnd

            In the US there are often two options for paying a company electronically:

            1. Pull: Pay them directly by signing up on that vendor's website with a credit card number or bank account number.

            When you bill is due, they will charge that account or initiate an ACH transaction to pull money from your bank account.

            2. Push: Many banks have an online bill payment system where you can plug in the info for all your vendors including utility companies, banks, credit card issuers, other lenders and even just other people.

            Sometimes you can pull the bill from that vendor and other times you just fill in the amount each month. You can tell your bank to automatically pay the bill or not.

            The big vendors and those with ACH information will be paid electronically. The rest are mailed a paper check, but the funds are debited from your account when the check goes out so its considered a more reliable form of payment than a handwritten check.

            •  Yep. (0+ / 0-)

              And, with the push method you can set a recurring amount which is what I do with Conoco. No need to go in every month and put a figure. You can change it at anytime though. But, the recurring amount saves hassle and time, not having to do something to it every month.

        •  It may be helpful (0+ / 0-)

          if you re-read the diary, and also if you read the comments between me and Susan G. It may help you understand.

    •  The Conoco card is issued through Citibank, so it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda, divineorder

      may not be the same as other ACH direct debit authorizations. But I'm not aware of any change of ownership of the card.

  •  Can you explain what this "transfer of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda

    ownership" is? I have some background in banking compliance/regulations, so I'm just curious.

  •  heh... (18+ / 0-)

    just try going off the grid.  that will probably just make you a person of very great interest to "them." B)

    i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

    by joe shikspack on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:49:09 PM PDT

  •  Damned if you do, damned if you don't... (10+ / 0-)

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:53:52 PM PDT

  •  It's like trying to find out who actually holds (13+ / 0-)

    ... your mortgage. Even the people tasked with servicing the loan often don't know.

    "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

    by Bob Johnson on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 06:59:11 PM PDT

    •  So I am learning. (4+ / 0-)

      When I called the bank, honestly I expected them to say "Why yes, Ms. __, your next payment will be going to such n such instead of so n so." But, no, they really didn't know. They had no idea, and told me pretty much just to trust that it would turn out okay.

      •  That's because the customer service for this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder

        is through GE Capital. They would have been able to answer questions.

        •  Susan, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          divineorder, Odysseus, FindingMyVoice

          Thank you. I'm not sure you have understood the point of my diary. Of course GE Capital and Conoco know where they are.

          But my bank, who is sending the money to them did not know and would not let me enter the information on my account in Internet banking.

          I didn't have questions for G.E.

          •  That's because electronic payments are actually (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wader, divineorder

            initiated by the institution/company being paid. That's what happens when you set up an agreement with them for automatic payments. So, with respect to where the funds actually go, it's no different from writing a check as far as your bank is concerned.

            Most people think that their bank is the one that controls those types of transactions, but it's actually the opposite. Your bank is just a repository for your funds in that respect. That's why someone in Internet banking wouldn't be able to answer your question, although if they just said, "trust us," then they weren't a very good representative.

            •  It is not (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              divineorder, gooderservice

              initiated by the company being paid, since it is my bank that I've told the date to pay it and the amount to pay.

              I didn't set up an agreement with the vendor for automatic payments.

              I can go in anytime and cancel a payment and mail a check if I want. I'm sure I could cancel a payment and be late, although I won't. But, if I did, the vendor is not going to initiate a transaction to take money from my bank .... unless I was very late and they got a garnishment approval or something.

              •  So when you make a payment, you don't sign on to (0+ / 0-)

                the Conoco card site?

                •  No, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sydneyluv

                  I do it through the internet banking feature at my bank.

                •  That is the point. (0+ / 0-)

                  If Conoco were taking the money, my bank has not moved, so there is no issue.

                  But that is not the case. It is my bank who is sending the money and needs to know that Conoco's bank changed hands, so that they send the money to the proper place. That was all I was trying to verify, Susan. That my bank had updated, current information.

                  •  I'm sorry for my misunderstanding. It it's a (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    OLinda, sydneyluv, FindingMyVoice

                    bill payment relationship where you have to provide the information, then it doesn't make sense that they wouldn't be able to help you change the receiving bank info. I'm sorry for not realizing what you were saying.

                    •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      FindingMyVoice

                      I really appreciate that. Yes, it has been frustrating.

                      •  My bank's bill pay (0+ / 0-)

                        allows for what they call "e-bills", where the payee (Conoco, in this case) sends your bill info to the bank so that they know exactly how much to make the payment for.  To use this feature, you have to register with your payee's online website, then give that info to your bank's bill pay system.  Seems to me that if you want automated exact payments you may as well just sign up at the payee's website.  They may give you a discount or something for doing it through them -- they have extra assurance that you'll make your payments on time every month.

                        Also, your bank may not know the address for check payments.  Many of my bank's payees are signed up for electronic transfer and settlement of bill payments.  They transmit their payments to those payees and settle (send a single credit for the total of all payments to that payee through an Automated Clearing House (ACH).  Conoco is probably on such an arrangement.

                        You can tell whether your payee is on automated payments by looking how long it takes your payment to reach the payee.  If it's the next day, they have an automated arrangement with your bank.

                        Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

                        by Helpless on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:00:01 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes, (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm pretty sure my bank has that too, where the vendor sends information to the bank.

                          And, yes, Conoco is a wire transfer type payment from the bank rather than a mailed check. However the point still stands. They were not aware of a bank change of hands and did not have new information about the new bank. They assumed everything was in order. They assumed the third party that handles the payments for them had the correct information, but they couldn't actually tell me they did.

  •  Pardon me for being naive, but if the payment (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wader

    is marked as paid online, does it matter how the payment got there? I use online bill pay for my gas and electric utility bills, and I pay them via Bank of America's bill pay service. Once I make a payment, it's marked as paid. I'm a little confused and am trying to see the issue here.

    •  Once it is paid (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, Words In Action, Odysseus

      sure, fine, then I can see that it is paid.

      But, prior to it being paid, I wanted to be sure they had the new information, so the funds would go to the correct place and I would not be late with my payment.

      The bank Internet Banking site would not let me put a new address for my new account. It said trust us, we know. So, I called to try to verify that they had the new information and that my payment would go to the correct new place, and they could not verify it. They did not know.

      I did not want to find out after the fact, after my payment was not received that there was a problem. I wanted to find out ahead of the payment that everything was in order and was unable to do that.

      Another large point of the diary that you may have missed, was that my bank does not actually make the payment; that is why they could not tell me where they are sending my money.

      •  The company getting paid "makes" the payment in (0+ / 0-)

        that sense. There isn't some nefarious third party that the bank sends funds to for electronic payments. It's the same as if you wrote a check, except that it's all electronic. It comes out of your account and goes to the company collecting your payment.

        •  My bank (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Words In Action, gooderservice

          told me there is a nefarious third party that handles all of their internet banking. Although they did not call them nefarious.

          Each account is not individually handled by all the various vendors. There is a company that keeps track and processes payments whether they are by check or wire transfer.

          •  Gawd, you're making me love cash. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OLinda

            I always liked it. Didn't appreciate the simplicity... the security features pioneered by Isaac Newton when he ran the mint.

            "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul von Koch

            by waterstreet2013 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 04:41:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  They probably use Checkfree (0+ / 0-)

            Most banks seem to.

            I'm not sure if they're nefarious or not, but I do have to say, they are very, very reliable. They use electronic transfers where they can, to save the cost of a stamp and check processing. Where they can't, they cut a check and send it for you, on the day they say they'll do it. And I've literally never had one get there late.

            I definitely am not enamored of the 'we know everything everyone does' aspect of this. However, to be fair to Checkfree, I'm a LOT more dubious of Visa. Checkfree knows that I pay $x a month in rent, and that last month I paid $y in credit card bills to cards A, B, and C. Visa knows almost everywhere I shop, plus in some cases (Level 3 credit card agreements... it says it's 'BtoB' data, but I know of at least one grocery chain that shares that data with credit card companies) details on every single thing you buy on that card.

            If someone said 'is the tradeoff worthwhile' for bill payment vs. them knowing the aggregate amount of your spending on certain categories in a month, I might venture a reluctant 'yes'. Is the convenience of a credit card (and the cash back) worth them knowing everything you buy down to the individual item? That's a different story.

            •  Thanks, Fred. (0+ / 0-)

              I hate my grocery card, but I do still use it. I know what you mean.

              Yes, with my bank bill pay, I've never had a problem, or anything late either.

              Sorry I stopped back by so late, I am unable to give you a tip.

  •  Yet another Wall Street boondoggle (11+ / 0-)

    They really have an infinite number of ways to fuck over 90% of America.

    I have a client in the Middle East, and every time he sends a check (from online) I get it exactly a week later.  (I was confused about that in itself, because how long does it really take for a computer to get an order, print a check and mail it?? The checks aren't printed in the Middle East - they're printed here.)

    Not only that, but the checks are always dated the exact day that I receive them.  I know that my client is not postdating them.  When I asked my bank (a great, small bank that takes awesome care of me) about it, they explained this whole racket of "bill pay".

    Yes, it is a third party company that prints and sends the checks.  It's also the third party company that postdates the checks.  On their own.  Because they decided that they want to hang on to money that is not theirs for a week. My client was surprised to know that his payments take a week to get to me, and there's nothing he can do about it.

    Fucking assholes.

    Money should be treated like any other controlled substance; if you can't use it responsibly then you don't get to use it.

    by La Gitane on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 07:35:54 PM PDT

    •  Velly interesting. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda, Words In Action, La Gitane

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 07:59:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I guess that's why Bill Pay is free (6+ / 0-)

      They make their money from the float.

      I ♥ rock crushers.

      by fly on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 09:52:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have wondered (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        La Gitane

        where the money making was. I know the banks are hot for  people to use Internet banking. I see it promoted all the time.

        I guess I am learning why now. It does save them the hassle of processing paper checks, but now I see there is more to it.

        •  How very ironic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OLinda

          That in the age of the internets and instantaneous information, high-speed trading, that they use the internet to slow down transactions when it benefits them. If my client were to write a check and mail it, I'd get it at the same time or maybe even faster than bill pay.

          Money should be treated like any other controlled substance; if you can't use it responsibly then you don't get to use it.

          by La Gitane on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 09:07:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But, to be fair... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            La Gitane

            ...it would cost him, what, a buck? And if you wanted to track it or insure it, much more than that. And if it gets lost, and some third party manages to cash it before you can stop payment on it, you are looking at a world of hurt getting that money back. (I've had this happen with a bill-pay check, back almost ten years ago, and it was a hassle but not nearly as big.)

            You're getting a service, for free. As you point out, there are many alternative services. Some (PayPal, Amazon Payments, Serve) take dramatically less time, but cost a significant amount of money. Some (mailing a check) take about the same amount of time but cost a little money.

            I will note, by the way, that if you receive payments frequently, you can actually register to receive electronic payments from checkfree. I have no idea how that works, nor whether it costs money, though. (It costs Checkfree money to pay for postage on every physical check they send out, plus printing costs and so forth, so it might even be free to register for electronic payments if you are over a certain amount per month.)

  •  totally agree with your feelings (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, gooderservice

    expressed in your last paragraph "Dream".

    I wished sometimes that this dream could come through.

  •  Good diary and clearly written. (8+ / 0-)

    I don't understand why so many commenters seemed confused. I've used on-line banking for ages and find it works very well for me. I don't allow any automatic payments and still get paper bills, but I like this system. Banks have long profited on float, even in the paper check days. Maybe especially then. I get where you're coming from, OLinda, on the security of having the gas card and finally being able to pay bills on time.  

    The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. Mark Twain

    by BlueMississippi on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 10:43:45 PM PDT

    •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)

      BlueMississippi, very much. You read my mind. After responding to a new recent commenter who also missed the point of the diary, I was starting to wonder if I was not clear. It is sure clear to me when I read it. So glad to hear you got it.

      I think people skim a bit and think they are experts so they don't actually have to read it, and take it from there.

      Yes, it's nice to pay the bills. Hope it lasts. :)

      Thank you so much for your comment. I needed it. I have even been thinking about deleting the diary. The comment section is so full of misinformation, at least as far as it applies to my diary.

      •  I hope you don't take it down. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda, ybruti, Dvalkure, gooderservice

        It really is a well-written diary. None of us love banks, true, but this was not about bank-bashing. You provided some good info about how the system works.

        The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. Mark Twain

        by BlueMississippi on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 11:08:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you, again, Blue (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlueMississippi, gooderservice

          On reloading the diary I noticed at the top it says it is scheduled for the community spotlight. Oh no.  I guess they don't go by the comment section when making their decisions on that.

          I really appreciate your support of my diary. It has really helped me a lot. I found myself getting pretty tense, and I am sorry some of my comments reflected that tenseness.

    •  Regulation CC in 1987 ended a lot of the float (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueMississippi, marina

      issues and inconsistencies. Banks have to make funds available according to the regulation.

  •  "confirmation email I get from somewhere I (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, Odysseus, gooderservice

    purchased"

    That's what horrifies me: in this day of identity theft, so many places blithely send out all manner of info in confirmation e-mails. Not only what I bought, but the last 4 digits of my credit card, and usually my address and phone number. OK, I know they need to protect themselves legally, and confirm that a purchase of amount X was made on such a date, etc. But ye gods, isn't anybody thinking when they send out all that info? One financial institution actually encrypted my statement with a key that required knowledge that only I would have (theoretically). I'm sure that's the exception rather than the rule, because a) the average consumer isn't worried, and/or thinks encryption is TOO HARD or TOO MUCH TROUBLE, and b) the company would save $0.00002 per transaction by not encrypting.

    As for bill pay, I ain't doing it. The mere thought of all that data in one place is the stuff of nightmares.

  •  Hi OLinda, I agree with Blue M. (4+ / 0-)

    Your diary is clearly written and I too was very puzzled by many of the comments. They were getting 'automatic withdrawal' which originates from the company being paid with 'bill pay' which pays bills from one's banking site on line. I think those folks have never used 'Bill Pay' or they wouldn't have misunderstood.

    Interesting diary.  I could completely identify. It may be dangerous using 'Bill Pay' but I'm not giving it up!  It has simplified my financial life enormously for more than 15 years now!

    The 'shift' is hitting the fan.

    by sydneyluv on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 05:33:37 AM PDT

    •  Thank you, sydneyluv. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice

      Yes, it has sure helped me. Helps me be on time with bills, and eliminates a lot of stress and hassle (if you don't count the stress of losing privacy.) :(.

      Thank you for your encouragement about the clearness of the diary. I really appreciate it.

  •  This is the key (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, gooderservice
    Doing it this way has kept me on time with all of my bills for many years.
    Do what allows you to sleep well at night.

    -7.75 -4.67

    "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

    There are no Christians in foxholes.

    by Odysseus on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:00:05 AM PDT

  •  I've had the same thing happen twice now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda

    One of those times, I in fact did not have to change the "pay-to" account in my online banking system, and the other time I did.

    All I can suggest is, if you get paper statements, keep an eye out for the new statement, when you get it immediately go to your computer and change the payee account information, obviously before the scheduled payment date, and all will be well.

    If you don't get paper statements, then most credit cards have an online system you can sign up for that will hold your statements electronically. read that statement and get the mailing address from that.

    Religion is like a blind man, in a pitch black room, searching for a black cat that isn't there.....and finding it.

    by fauxrs on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 06:43:11 AM PDT

    •  Thank you, fauxrs. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice

      I did get a new statement recently from the new bank in the mail. (I have now signed up with the new bank for electronic bills so I won't get more paper ones.)

      I did immediately go into my bank to change the address for the payment, and it wouldn't let me. :) That's where the trouble began. They assure me everything is fine, even though I can't change the address, and they can't tell me where the payment is going.

      What I ended up doing for my peace of mind, is I paid the minimum amount due by phone with Conoco. That way if the bank system messes up, I know I am covered. If it works correctly, which I hope it does, a 2nd payment will go to my account which is okay this month.

      •  oops (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda, gooderservice

        see now if I had read your diary closer I would have noticed that wouldn't I.

        Can you delete the payee altogether and create a new one?

        Religion is like a blind man, in a pitch black room, searching for a black cat that isn't there.....and finding it.

        by fauxrs on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 08:01:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, (0+ / 0-)

          that is the answer, fauxrs. I learned later that if I entered a brand new payee, I could enter all of the information. However, I didn't want to do that because it is the same account. It did not revert to zero due and start over with the new bank. It continued, so I wanted my records to continue.

          My bank assured me that the payment would go to the right place and that I didn't need to enter a new payee. So, we will see what happens in a few days.

  •  The consumerist scam lies in 'ease.' This isn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, gooderservice

    just about on-line banking. It's about all of business treating us, and getting us to psychologically be like, spoiled children who must never exert themselves to conduct their lives. It's all of a piece with the marketing angles like the iFart and the MyCrap kind of branding.

    Consumerism needs us to never pass beyond adolescence.


    Real fixes, outside the coffin fixes, ain't ever pragmatic says DC Bubble Conventional Wisdoom.

    by Jim P on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:21:33 AM PDT

  •  I don't use (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, gooderservice

    my credit union's bill pay service, instead I go directly to the website of the actual company I'm paying, and do it that way. It cuts out the middleman...

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 07:29:55 AM PDT

    •  bill pay service. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happy camper, gooderservice

      Yes, I can see that. I have always just felt more comfortable having the bank send the money, rather than having the various companies have my bank routing info and ability to go in and take it.

      I feel like I have more control over the situation by being able to go into my bank site and make changes to the amount sent, date sent, etc., if I need to.

      Although obviously I don't have complete control or this diary would not have been written. :)

      I do have my electric bill paid the way you do; the company grabs it.

    •  I do that, too - pay directly on the website (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda, buddabelly

      of the company I owe.

      I never did use bill pay because it seemed more complicated than the way I'm used to doing it.  I go to the site, take screenshots as I move from page to page, get the confirmation number of the payment, download the receipt, and I feel better doing it that way -- I have proof of everything.

      I do have some automatic fixed payments set up monthly or yearly through one credit card, and that's easy for me to follow and check up on.

      I don't mind automatic payment from the credit card because if there's an error, I'm not responsible for it and I'm losing no cash money.  

      However when the bank makes an error or the company I owe makes an error and takes out more money than they should, then I do "lose" money for a period of time.

      A few years ago I had an account with UPS, and their weekly bills were a pain, writing out a check each week, that I allowed them to automatically take the money from my checking account on a monthly basis.

      One month they took much more than they should have, so when I called them about it, they acknowledged their mistake.  "Okay, so put it back into my checking account," I said.

      Their response to me was, "Oh, no, we can't do that now, you'll have to wait until next month when we do the automatic banking issues."

      So never again would I allow an automatic payment from my banking account to anyone.

      UPS admitted to me that the mistake happened to several people, I don't know the number, but wasn't it nice for them to have all that money for a month to collect interest on?

      Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

      by gooderservice on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:03:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  heh, I learned my lesson from AOL, It took (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda, gooderservice

        months before they would stop billing me after I cancelled them, even though I couldn't log in or do anything on the network or however they worked it.  

        I had to pay Earthlink too until after about 4 months of it I just cancelled the debit card and opened another.

        iirc, they never did refund the 50 bucks or so I was out....been 10 years or so, don't remember the amounts exactly but it made enough of an impression that I will not do any type of autopay to this day though I often pay over the phone with a debit card as long as they do not store the number..........

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 02:47:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know I should never say never, but I don't ever (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OLinda, riverlover, buddabelly

          plan to have any company to be able to automatically remove cash from my bank account automatically.  

          Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

          by gooderservice on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 05:47:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's the smart (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            buddabelly, gooderservice

            way to go, gooderservice. So far, my only one that works that way with Company taking from Bank is for electricity. I figure I'll always need it so won't be trying to cancel. Even if I move (which I have no plans to), it likely would still be the same company. It's also a bill I need to pay in full each month rather than like a credit card where you can pay a minimum if you need to. So, they might as well take it. :)

  •  This a great diary, OLinda. Very eye-opening. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda

    I'm glad you didn't delete it.

    I followed it very closely and understood everything you said.  And had I had the same thing happen to me, I would have followed up just as you did.

    A little off topic here, but something I just thought I'd share.  Every few years when my credit cards expire and I get a new one, there are many companies I have to contact to change the expiration date and security number.

    What I find perplexing is half of the companies I contact already have the new expiration date and I didn't have to update it.  Just curious as to why some already knew and some didn't.

    Dallasdoc: "Snowden is the natural successor to Osama bin Laden as the most consequential person in the world, as his actions have the potential to undo those taken in response to Osama."

    by gooderservice on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:09:27 AM PDT

    •  card expiration date. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gooderservice, seefleur

      Thank you so much, gooderservice for the overall comment on the diary. I appreciate knowing it was actually understandable. This has been a difficult thread for me with all of the misunderstandings.

      Yes, once I got an email from Consumer Reports saying I needed to update credit card information for my renewal with them. I didn't want to renew, so I decided to just ignore it (I was busy), thinking if I didn't update the expiration date, they wouldn't be able to charge me.

      Well, as it turned out a month or two later, the charge went through even though I had not told them the new date.

      I called them and complained and explained that I had expected them not to be able to charge it. They were nice, and refunded or credited my credit card.

      I was mad at my card people although I never followed up on it. I assumed they let the charge go through without an updated date. Now, from you, I see Consumer Reports probably got the date somehow.

      I don't like that practice. The expiration date, to me, is part of your security. If people don't know it, they can't use the card number. If companies can just get it on their own, that's pretty crappy.

  •  An ever increasing sentiment I suspect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda
    I would really like to be off the grid. Cash only. No records. Privacy.
    Would you believe there are jurisdictions making living off the grid illegal? Florida is one of them.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

    by pajoly on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:55:45 AM PDT

  •  I use online banking via my credit union (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, TheMeansAreTheEnd

    When adding a bill, it always gives me the option of manually keying in all account and address information. For common payees, like GE Capital, it gives me an option to let the system find the right address by keying in my account number.

    Choices are good.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

    by pajoly on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:02:32 AM PDT

    •  account info (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pajoly

      As it turns out, if I was entering a new payee, I have that option too. I would be able to enter the address. Since this was not a new payee but an address change, it turned out to be different, and would not let me make a change. They tell me the change will go through though without my input.

      I have the payment scheduled for the 15th, so I will find out soon if it worked. I usually pay earlier, but I postponed it to give them time to have the info (I hope). It will still be on time, if it goes.

  •  FWIW, my hotel points credit card recently... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda

    notified me that they were switching from Visa to MasterCard and that my account number would be changing too.

    Fortunately, I haven't authorized any direct payments for any credit cards, or anything else, other than my life insurance premium (that was a condition of getting the policy & hasn't been a problem).  It's a real drag using the archaic writing checks system, but there are times it's a plus.  

  •  Get yourself a small independent bank and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda

    avoid the big 5 like the plague.

    This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

    by swtexas on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:44:34 AM PDT

    •  bank (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      waterstreet2013

      My bank is a local, or maybe regional bank. Not one of the biggies. They've really done a great job for me, not counting this diary. :) There has never been a mistake, late payment, or any problem with my bill paying through them and I've been doing it many years.

      •  And you don't name them. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OLinda

        Why?

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul von Koch

        by waterstreet2013 on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 04:44:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  didn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          waterstreet2013

          occur to me to name them.

          The diary is basically a complaint that they couldn't tell me about the new payee address, but I doubt the problem is unique to them. It's not like a big customer service problem. I do like them, so no reason to name them on this subject which is probably true of all or most banks.

          Why do you ask? Do you think it would be helpful to you if you knew my local bank name?

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