Posted by Chuck on March 16, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on March 16th, 2017 | by Chuck

49

Which Banks Adjust Auto-Pay to the Amount Owed?

A lot of people set up auto-pay on their credit cards to avoid the possibility of ever paying a late fee. That works well for ‘normal people,’ but for us complicated folks it’s not always so simple.

What happens if you make a partial payment before the auto-pay kicks in to free up some credit limit or to use up a money order or any other reason. Does the bank automatically adjust the auto-pay and only pull the remaining amount owed on the bill? Or do they proceed to pull the full amount of the statement bill?

Note: if you pay off the balance or part of it before the statement closes, the bank will never pull more than the statement bill. A lot of people like to pay off the balance or most of it before statement close so that it won’t negatively impact their credit score. (This issue is only for personal cards; for most business cards there no reason to pay off before statement close.)

It’s vital to know this info since if you have a $10,000 statement balance and manually pay off $8,000, and the bank proceeds to pull the full $10k, you might end up with overdraft fees from your bank if you don’t have a full $10,000 in your checking account.

This is an issue I’ve looked into in the past, and just got a kick in the pants from @milesperday to do a post about. I personally don’t use auto-pay at all; just posting data points that I’ve seen from others.

Amex

Amex will adjust the auto-pay and only pull the amount due.

Bank of America

A couple of data points (1, 2) indicate that Bank of America will proceed to do the auto-pay for the full statement balance, even if you pay it off partially or completely manually.

Other data points indicate (1, 2) the reverse that if you make a payment with BofA – even a partial payment – they’ll cancel the auto-pay completely.

BofA does seem to be able to refund the payment directly back to your bank account (no need for a physical check), so that’s good. On another note, everyone talking about BofA auto-pay mentions that it’s a royal pain to set up.

Barclay’s

Barclay will proceed to do the auto-pay for the full statement balance, even if you pay it partially or totally beforehand (1).

Capital One

Capital One will always proceed to do the auto-pay for the full statement balance, even if you make payments beforehand (1, 2, 3, 4). One data point says (1) the reverse.

Chase

Chase will adjust the auto-pay and only pull the amount due (1, and heard from a friend).

Citi

Many data points indicate that Citi does adjust your auto-payment if paid partially or fully (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Discover

Discover will cancel the auto-pay when fully paid up beforehand (2, 3)., and will adjust the auto-pay when partially paid beforehand (1).

Target Credit Card (TD Bank)

The Target card will proceed to do the auto-pay for the full statement balance if you pay it partially before, but only if you still have a balance on the card in the amount of the auto-pay. They will never pull more than your total balance and bring your card balance into negative. (1, 2)

Presumably, all TD Bank auto-pays will work the same.

US Bank

US Bank will proceed to do the auto-pay for the full statement balance, even if you pay it partially before. Not sure what happens if you pay it off completely.

I’d guess that the Fidelity credit card and other Elan cards will work like US Bank.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo  will adjust the auto-pay and only pull the amount due (1).

Summary

To summarize, Citi, Chase, Amex, and Discover adjust your auto-pay to reflect recent payments. Other banks might pull the full amount even if you paid partially. In some cases, they’ll only do this if your balance won’t go negative (i.e. they’ll never pull more than you actually owe at the moment of the pull), and in some cases they won’t do the pull if you paid off the full amount since the statement closed.

Be careful there with your auto-pays! If you do have a data point to add, try to be as clear as possible, including if you paid off completely or partially and when it happened.



49 Responses to Which Banks Adjust Auto-Pay to the Amount Owed?

  1. Chris says:

    Hey Chuck –
    The description for Citi seems to be a copy pasta of the Barclaycard section.

  2. Raj says:

    Discover does not pull any funds in auto if you have already paid in full.

  3. RF says:

    The only card I’ve ever used autopay on is my Target card, since it gets used so irregularly (only when I run out of gift cards) and I don’t want to accidentally forget it. They won’t overpay if you pay it down early, but if you pay it down and then charge it back up, they’ll still autopay the full statement balance. So if you get a $100 statement, pay $100 early, and then charge another $100 before the due date, you’ll really don’t need to pay anything additional but they’ll still transfer the whole $100 anyway. I find it annoying, but apparently that seems to be how many of the other banks work? Wow.

  4. Fiby says:

    Citi didn’t do an autopay when I paid in full via debit.

    And as noted above you wrote Barclaycard in the Citi section

  5. Ray says:

    Capital One auto pays for the amount due on my Quicksilver. Even if you set it to the minimum payment due and you already pay the minimum payment, it will end up paying the minimum again.

  6. Vincent says:

    Capital one will autopay full statement balance for me, even if I make partial payments

  7. MoreSun says:

    Citi adjusts the autopay.

  8. Rob says:

    I literally just had this happen with my Merrill+ card (BOA Card). I used the rewards to pay down the balance and then it took the full statement balance. I was able to call and have them refund the different.

    The differing information here may be due to how you set up Auto pay. For BOA, it allowed several options, one being Statement Balance, and another being “Amount Due” on e-bill. I had mine set up for Statement Balance which caused the issue for me. I don’t have what setting it up a “Amount Due” does.

    • Julie says:

      For my BOA Alaska card, I initially set up auto pay using the “Amount Due” option. I erroneously assumed that would mean they would pull the unpaid balance from my last statement. Instead, they only pulled the minimum payment, i.e. $25. You have to choose “Statement Balance” for them to pull the whole thing.

  9. Ferris says:

    Capital One autopays irregardless of additional payments. Another reason to never use them.

  10. Maggie says:

    My Spark card from Capital One pulls the full statement balance regardless of how much I pay beforehand. Also, I’ve has the same problem with Bank of America, but I was at least able to call them and have them refund the difference.

  11. sirtheta says:

    Are you sure about Chase? I just looked at the autopay options (“Minimum payment due” and “Full amount due”). The little info icon claims that “Full amount due is the “new balance” on your statement. It doesn’t reflect any payments or new transactions since your statement date.”—which to me means that they will not adjust for payments you make (at least they’re very transparent about it!).

    Trivial hypothesis: whether an issuer adjusts autopay depends on two things: (a) how autopay is set up and (b) how the issuer changes balances based on payment.

    Before everyone piles on about how obvious that sounds – let me explain!

    By (a), I mean whether autopay is supposed to pay the statement balance, remaining balance, etc. If you set up autopay to pay the statement balance, you may run in to issues if you make a separate payment specifically because…

    By (b), I mean how the issuer counts a payment you make – whether it reduces the statement balance or not.

    American Express is a perfect example here because the process is very transparent and intuitive (and they’re the only issuer that does it correctly). If you set up autopay to pay the “Total New Balance”*, American Express will pay the statement balance (obviously). But what’s cool about American Express is that they change your statement balance based on payments made, and in a transparent manner. When your statement closes you have a “Statement Balance”**. When you make a payment or do certain other actions, this gets changed to “Remaining Statement Balance”***.

    Because other issuers lack American Express’s very well thought out system, they will almost universally do the dumb thing and pay the statement balance.

    * “Will pay the previous month’s statement balance in full adjusted for payments, returned payments, credits and disputes since your last statement closing date.”

    ** The little info icon states: “This amount is the New Balance showing on your most recent billing statement. This balance does not include any new payments, returned payments, credits or transactions made after the last closing date. No amounts under dispute have been deducted from this balance.”

    *** The little info icon states: “This amount is the New Balance showing on your most recent billing statement adjusted for payments, returned payments and applicable credits since your last statement closing date. Any amounts under dispute have been deducted from this balance.”

  12. Tory says:

    Can confirm that Barclay’s will apply your autopayment (even if it’s set to statement balance), even if you’ve paid off the statement in full. Very frustrating.

  13. Brian K says:

    Autopay wasn’t adjusted for my Merrill+ Visa. I paid the full balance last week and then on Tuesday it still made the auto-pay of the last statement balance. They were able to send the auto-pay amount credit back to my bank account, but it’s still a nuisance to call in.

  14. Stephen says:

    Citi Double Rewards will auto-adjust the auto pay.

  15. Pete says:

    I can also confirm that Citi adjusts the autopay, at least when your additional payments were made by debit or ACH via their website.

  16. Chuck says:

    @Pete @Stephen @Brian K @Maggie @Ferris @Rob @MoreSun @Vincent @Ray Added the data points, thanks

  17. FreeFallers says:

    DP. Citi adjust the auto-pay based on the payment you made, and works like a charm.
    BoA does not adjust auto-pay at all, does not matter if you paid in full or made a partial payment. I tested both of these last month. Whatever the amount in the “bill pay”, they will deduct that amount.

  18. HariOm says:

    @Tory, Barclays confirmed. I’ve had it happen several times, where I pay off the balance in advance, and then on the autopay date, they still pull the full statement balance from my bank account

  19. Donnie says:

    Thank you for this post, just found I have nearly 1k in over charges with Barclay’s.

    The question is what’s the best way to get this money back,I would prefer to get it wired back to my bank account, rather than credited to my card. If it helps, it’s a jetBlue card .

  20. Owen says:

    So let me get this straight, if I want to pay down my balance EARLY on a Discover card, it’ll come off of the autopay amount IF I make the payment BEFORE the statement period closes?

    If I pay off any amount after the statement period closes, it’ll go on any future balances and the autopay will be for the full amount when the statement period closed?

  21. Matt says:

    I have auto-pay set on most of my cards, but I usually pay in full long before the due date.
    Chase, Discover, AMEX – Auto-pay adjusts to zero when pay statement balance in full before due date (even with charges made after closing date)
    Target Redcard – charges the current balance even if statement balance is paid in full

  22. Bob Unferth says:

    Chase had adjusted auto-pay to the remaining balance on a few occassions for me. No problems.

  23. Harry says:

    This is a good post and one that surely needed to be written. A good place for collecting data points on the subject.
    There is this unaddressed situation that I usually do not get into, but did couple of months back on Citi card but it could apply to any other card:
    Set to auto-pay the minimum due and was working well for several months; I would manually pay in full soon after statement cuts and the autopay would not trigger at all. (The auto-pay was a “just in case” setup where if I forgot to manually pay then I would not lose “credibility”)
    Then .I had a small balance this one month of something like $60. the minimum due was $25 for that month’s statement. I had some item that I had bought part of the $60 balance and valued about $40 which I returned and got a refund back to the card leaving a balance of $20. I manually paid that balance well before the due date. On the auto pay date which I have set 3 days before due date, Citi still took the $25 from my account. Not a big deal in this case, but the bottom-line is that your minimum due payment in full must be received as a payment (not as a refund) for the auto-pay to stop processing.

  24. TG says:

    Not sure why people say BofA autopay is hard to set up. You just go to your e-bills section, click autopay for your card and select how much you want it to pay. Not any harder than any other bank. I can confirm they always pay the statement balance, but you can easily edit it and see your upcoming payments on a centralized page.

    • Kent C says:

      It’s a royal pain. It doesn’t even hit your e-bill section for a few weeks after you set it up. You have to navigate through multiple sections which make no logical sense to set it up as an e-bill first and then come back weeks later to actually set it to autopay. If you forget, no autopay. Been with BofA for 30 years and they’ve never improved it. Have cards with every other issuer and BofA is 100x more a pain in the ass than any other setup.

      • TG says:

        Oops sorry, not e-bills but Bill Pay Center. It shows you a list of cards (including newly opened ones) and you click Automatic Payments by it and you set your options like any other bank. I really don’t know why people say it’s complicated. You don’t have to set up e-bill first. There’s no waiting. The first day you get approved you can set up autopay in 20 seconds and be done with it.

  25. mandy says:

    I made a online payment to chase and it still charged me my auto pay. may not be the best dp because the payment was within 36 hours of the due date, so it may only have triggered because it wasn’t showing up yet as a payment…

  26. YRK says:

    For me, discover, bofa , chase , amex and capone never have autopay if i paid statement beforehand, which I always do.
    My 2nd last statement of capone had around 200 due and after spending around 900 in next cycle and paying new and old balance before statement was cut, autopay of statement balance (~200) wasn’t deducted .

  27. David says:

    Bank of America offers several different auto-pay methods.
    But I think Better Balance Reward seems to be the only credit card to keep in long term so there is no need to set up auto-pay.

  28. DW says:

    BoA just took 3200 out of my checking account yesterday when I owed nothing. I paid my bill off 2 weeks ago. None of their auto pay options make sense.

  29. Ryan says:

    Wells Fargo will adjust auto-pay to reflect partial payments. They also consider refunds as payments. I use my Wells Fargo credit card to pay my cell phone bill for the theft protection. I purchased some stuff from the mall and quickly returned the items. This effectively forwarded the balance owed to the next month, since the return was more than the amount of my phone bill.

  30. Gus says:

    If you really look at it, BoA doesn’t actually have an auto-pay feature for their credit cards at all, the way most other banks do. They have a much more convoluted method with additional steps, including the totally unnecessary involvement of a “e-bill” and “billpay” features which none of the other banks use for their much more simple and direct autopay systems.

  31. Gus says:

    The payment software at each bank can have various lines in it like:
    “If x<y then do this else do that"
    and there are many things x, y, this and that can be, so there are many possible things that can happen. What I found though is that if you read the fine print carefully, it will tell you the exact rules, but you do need to understand exactly what you're setting up.

  32. Justin says:

    My DPs for the BoA:

    * Bank of America twice now (one on a normal card, one on the alaska card) I have had it set for full statement balance, and pair it in full several days prior, and they still processed the auto-pay.

    • Justin says:

      Also for Discover, they twitter DP listed is either wrong or misleading. For Discover It, it DEFINITELY adjusts the autopay – it even shows on the screen: http://imgur.com/a/GcMkL

      That said, 6 years ago (a non-It card) I know I manually paid and they still processed the auto paid of around $2000 – before I was churning and was tight on money. They issued checks in $500 increments to refund it, and took several days. I’m guessing the twitter had a historically bad experience, but things have definitely changed since then. Or possibly for non-It cards it doesn’t adjust… but that seems unlikely.

  33. Rena says:

    Capital one quicksilver cancelled my autopay after I made payments before the due date – this was a month or two ago.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑