Posts Tagged ‘American Express’

When Five Days Late Equals Thirty Days Late

American Express apparently starts counting the days you’re past due from the date your billing statement is printed instead of the date your payment is due. This policy seems to fly in the face of the CARD act rules which state that credit card companies must give you at least 21 days from the time you receive your bill to make your payment.

One reason they might be getting away with this is because, according to Latoya Irby:

Fortunately, this is just an issue of phrasing and doesn’t impact late payment penalties or credit bureau reporting. It can just scare you into thinking your balance is seriously delinquent when it’s only mildly delinquent.

Another reason might be that American Express is a “charge” card rather than a credit card. There may be loopholes in the law that allow this.

Still, this policy smacks of operating in bad faith and, really, I do not see how a company can expect payment on the day the bill is printed when you haven’t even had a chance to receive your bill!

Perhaps AMEX customers ought to complain to the FTC.  American Express is clearly violating the spirit of the CARD Act, which aims to restore fairness to credit card company policies.

My First Stupid Financial Decision

Usually, I get on anyone who is overly sanctimonious when doling out personal finance advice because, well, they do sound sanctimonious and they ignore the larger issues that face most American families today.  Having said that, some folks do make boneheaded moves in the finance department, me included.

When I was in college, I thought it was a bright idea to get an American Express card. There were some folks on campus who signed me up…did they care that I didn’t have a job or any income really, apart from what student aid I was receiving at the time, combined with an allowance from my mother? No, they didn’t. They were happy to sign me up and I went right along with it, foolish girl that I was.

Now, had I had an ounce of financial sense, I would have used my card as it was intended to be used. I wouldn’t have gotten into any trouble at all and would have been on the road to having excellent credit. But, I didn’t. I didn’t realize that since my American Express card was a charge card, as opposed to a credit card, that I had to pay whatever balance I had run up during the month in full at the end of the month. I went a little crazy and before long I owed more than $1,000 and, of course, I couldn’t pay it. There went my fledgling credit file.

It is a good thing that there are now measures in place that prevent credit card companies from setting up shop on college campuses, and while I do believe that some of the blame for my early credit transgression does lie with the credit card company, the ultimate responsibility lies with me. In my case, I was a stupid kid who got into trouble with credit.

I did end up paying it off, but it took a long time and my credit was damaged. Starting off with damaged credit is not a good thing and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

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