Posted by Chuck on March 16, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on March 16th, 2017 | by Chuck

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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.



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

Lol @ copy pasta

On a related note I think Citi has auto adjusted my amount due for partial payment.

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

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.

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

And as noted above you wrote Barclaycard in the Citi section

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.

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

Citi adjusts the autopay.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.”

https://www.chase.com/content/dam/chaseonline/en/legacy/content/secure/pt/document/pb_shared_userguide_p.pdf

States:

Can I make an additional payment before my automatic payment?
Yes. If you make a payment before your due date, we’ll reduce the automatic
payment by the first payment amount. If the first payment is more than the
automatic payment, we won’t make the automatic payment that month.
Note: You must wait at least three days between payments to this credit
card account. In addition, you cannot schedule a payment more than 93 days
in advance.

So it looks like they’ll reduce the autopay by the first “additional” payment amount only. If your autopay is $1000, and you pay additional payments of $200 and then $100 both before the same autopay, it looks like the autopay would be for $800.

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.

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.

Citi Double Rewards will auto-adjust the auto pay.

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

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