Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pet Peeve of the Day -- garbage fees and arbitrary Sorry Daves

Six or so years ago via an application linked through PayPal's website, I somewhat disingenuously acquired a credit card with "Paypal" on the front. I didn't read enough of the fine print, but I mistakenly believed that the card would have something to do with eBay and Paypal -- perhaps some kind of reward point system, or an easier way to facilitate receipt of payments, something like that.

It turns out it was nothing but a normal card with a sticker, high interest rates, and fairly high fees. Since Providian was bought out by Washington Mutual, who was in turn bought out by Chase, I've received several replacement cards with different logos to replace the original, most recently a WaMu "Platinum Protect" card, which I full expect to be replaced by a

Anyway, I keep the thing running because it's a no-fee card that helps build my credit. Since I don't carry a balance, the limit had been raised automatically every so often, and they also include a Trans-Union only credit monitoring service with online account access. There's a lag of a couple of weeks but I am provided with my credit profile and my single-bureau credit score free, which is nice.

I charge little on it, since it offers no cash back, but AmEx isn't accepted everywhere. I went to pay my last bill, and got irritated, again, at their stupid fees which essentially attempt to part lower-income people from money that they don't have. I pay the bill as soon as it arrives, but I am obliged to set up a payment for the next day at the earliest. I can pay on the same day, but this requires a $14.95 express payment fee.

This fee is simply a junk fee, designed just to earn money from people who are broke, cutting it close, or just plain absent-minded. Now, I know there are no technical limitations that prevent them from immediately processing payments, and I know it doesn't cost them any more money. It's not even a late payment fee -- those, while sometimes excessive, are INTENDED to be punitive.

This is just junk.

"I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that."

Then there's the way in which the payment can be scheduled up to 180 days in advance. The side effect of this is that it's possible, by flipping the wrong switch, to schedule a payment for a day in which you completely did not intend, like a Saturday, in which case your payment will be processed on Monday. Contrast this with my American Express, which prohibits me from screwing up as you see below:

See the part where it says "Payments received after 8:00 PM MST may not be credited until the next day." And, I can schedule a payment ahead of time for the due date, and have it all go down like clockwork.


  • At 5:25 AM , Anonymous Coach Curly said...

    you be better off to build your credit with a Shell gas card.

  • At 9:33 AM , Blogger Argentius said...

    Why would I want that?

    I don't drive.

    Also, the credit monitoring is kind of nice. That's really the only reason I keep the thing around -- and, it's my longest-established account.


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