I had a lot of crazy things happen to me this week financially with my business and my personal bank accounts and even credit cards.
My Poor Business Accounts
On the business side everything started off fine. I made a few purchases from Amazon.com and everything went through without a problem. Then all of a sudden I received an e-mail from Amazon telling me that the payment didn’t go through, and they needed me to adjust the payment information on the purchases.
Problems With My Business Credit Card
When I logged into my credit card account, it showed that I was late by two or three business days in making this most recent payment. Apparently the electronic notification got lost in a bunch of other e-mails in my inbox. Things have been so hectic lately and when I went to check on things, the payment was already late.
I guess it’s their policy that if you miss a payment by a couple of days they automatically shut down the credit card; Which on one hand I can understand – I think it’s a good thing (because if you’re having trouble making your payments you probably shouldn’t be extended any further credit), but on the other hand, it is definitely is a pain if it was an oversight (and not due to financial struggles), as was the case this.
So I immediately log into my business checking account to send over a payment so that I can clear this up immediately. Even though I use the same bank for my checking account (like this one from http://www.bbt.com) and the credit card, it still takes a couple days in order for them to process a payment.
Did It Really Spread To My Business Checking?
Once I logged in to the checking account I noticed that the account was in overdraft. As I looked further to figure out what was going on, I noticed that there was a huge charge that hit my checking account through PayPal. Well, I had my PayPal purchases set to all go through my credit card, because I don’t like surprises popping up in my checking account. I had no idea why PayPal chose to my bank account rather than my credit card, since the credit card was still active at the time of the PayPal withdraw.
Unfortunately, there was nothing that I can do about that payment coming out of my bank account instead of the credit card, so all that was left for me to do was to try to put money in my bank account so that I wouldn’t be in the negative and so that I can pay my credit card.
Since the time of the PayPal debit (which was just a day or two) I had received money into my business PayPal account. I transfered that money over immediately, but of course, like all other electronic transfers it would take a couple of days to hit the checking account.
Slow Transfers Within The Same Bank…Ugh
Initially, I didn’t remember that I had set up another online account a while ago and connected it to a system that was set up for me to earn money for my business. Once I remembered, I had to go into that account and make a transfer; but before I could do that I had to connect the two accounts. This meant that this online bank account had to make two small deposits into my business checking account and then I had to log in and verify those payments, so that they would know that I had access to the business account.
What makes this crazy is that all of this is with the same bank; the credit cards, my business checking account, and also this online banking account (which was recently taken over by my business bank).
Unfortunately they don’t have their systems set up to where they recognize different segments of their company as being one in the same, so that I can have my money transferred immediately – if that was the case this whole problem would’ve been solved on the same day.
I love the bank and have had no problems with them and ultimately this was my fault, however if the sites were a little more up to date, this problem would have been taken care of immediately.
Riding In The Rain
I’m actually sitting in my car on a rainy Saturday morning dictating this into my voice recorder. I just came from another bank where we have an account set up for emergency purposes. I took money out of that account and then drove over to my business bank and made a deposit with them. Of course, since this is a Saturday I won’t see that deposit hit the account until Monday.
Once that happens I will be able to make the payment on my business credit card and free up that account.
Safeguards That I Will Put In Place
What I plan to do to avoid this is to set up reminders on my calendar that will prompt me to go check my credit card statement. I don’t like to have a balance at the end of the month on my business credit card, however over the last month or two I’ve had to make several large purchases, which I hope to have paid off over the next couple months.
I also plan to set up a business savings account so that I don’t have to keep relying on these online transfers that take two or three days or waking up driving out in the rain to take out cash and make deposits.
Problems With Our Personal Accounts, Too?
As all that was going on, we also had a very tight month financially with our personal finances. Now, this was to be expected because the prior month we had to go over our budget in several categories because of different things that came up in life.
At the beginning of the month I projected our finances for the next couple of weeks (which I do with every paycheck), and I knew that we would be extremely tight for this entire month. However, we had a couple small things, that we had to take care of which were somewhat unexpected.
The other day I woke up to a low balance threshold alert from my bank. I’m glad that I set this up at some point in the past, so any time our checking account balance goes below $100 my wife and I are both sent an e-mail just to give us warning.
Fortunately I was able to log into our savings account and move some money over, because I know we have one annual payment that is due at some point this month.
Unfortunately, as I was doing our finances, I did notice that one of our credit card companies said that we had a late payment. This is quite odd, since I schedule all payments weeks in advance. When I looked at the e-mail that I received from them when the statement was ready, I noticed something quite peculiar: the e-mail was sent on one particular day, and the payment was due 2 or 3 business days after they sent the e-mail!
Well, I go over our finances every Friday or Saturday, depending on my schedule, so if I received an e-mail on Monday saying there is a new statement I would just review it on that Friday or Saturday! Usually you are given about 20 or even 30 days in some cases before the payment is due, and I usually don’t worry about logging in on that same day.
Now that I think about it while I’m talking, I’m not sure if what they did was even legal. I think there was something in the credit card act signed a few years ago that states that they have to give maybe 15 or 20 calendar days from the time that the statement comes out until your next payment is due (I just checked the article that I wrote back then…they have to give you 21 days). So I’m going to check that. And even if that isn’t a requirement, the fact that they gave me five calendar days of perhaps three business days is unacceptable my opinion and I definitely plan to fight any charges that may come.
More Reasons To Hate Debt!
This just furthers the biblical principle that debt is equivalent to slavery. It causes undue stress and it puts us under the rules and regulations of another person, financially. This is even more motivation for us to get out of debt and to have some freedom in our lives.