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Auto Payments Don’t Always Make Life Easier

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There isn’t any payment we don’t handle that isn’t done online and set up with auto pay. My credit card, my husband’s credit card, our Roth IRA contributions, and our tithe are all set up through auto pay. What I just found out last week didn’t lead to late fees, but it did take three whole months before I realized it was happening.

The hubs and I set up an auto payment for a biweekly amount (I’ll use $250 biweekly for my example) to go from our checking account to our church. Our church decided to hire an intern as a full time pastor this summer and the church was asked to chip in on his salary for the next year until his salary was worked into the church’s budget. We signed up to give a little extra starting in September and we checked the box to just add $75 on to our current giving. You might be thinking “Oh so you were actually giving $150 a month extra since you had biweekly payments set up?” Nope.

I didn’t realize the payment was changed to monthly instead of biweekly, so that meant our giving drastically went down. Here’s the breakdown of what happened:

Previous set up: $250 biweekly (scheduled for the 1st & 15th day of each month)

New (correct) set up: $325 monthly (1st day of each month) + $250 monthly (15th day of each month)

New (actual) set up: $325 monthly (1st day of each month)

I didn’t notice this until I realized our checking account kept going up each month. We usually have about the same amount in our checking account at the end of each month because everything else gets reallocated to some kind of savings or payment. A huge chunk of it gets moved to the savings account for our home. When I saw the numbers creeping up, I looked back at our past statements and realized there was only one monthly charge coming from our church. In this example, those three months of missed payments add up to $750.

We were able to submit a one time donation to catch up on our missed giving and I corrected the giving amount through our church’s auto-pay set up. I only skim through our bank account online maybe once a week because we enter in our purchases in our handy homemade excel sheet. Our excel sheet accounts for the new biweekly payments but that obviously wasn’t happening in reality. Thank goodness it wasn’t a worse-case scenario. I couldn’t imagine if we accidentally fell 3 months behind on a credit card or mortgage payment!

Have you ever had a glitch with setting up auto payments?

Money

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

8 Comments

  1. My old pastor had a auto-pay set up for a store card he had in college. He didn’t pay any attention to it until 5 years later, he discovered that he was still paying it — even though the balance had already been paid off some time before!

    • Wow! I wonder how many other students forgot about it as well. The store must have had a nice side income from all the continued auto-payments!

  2. For a minute I thought you meant car payments from the title! Automatic payments generally make my life easier but I do monitor them to make sure they come out in time and for the correct amounts.

    • I guess I abbreviate more than I realize; I didn’t even realize people might thing automobile haha. Even though auto-payments help in case you forget it is wise that you monitor your payments to catch any slip ups or misses.

  3. Now, knowing a handful of bible beaters, had the amount gone up, incorrectly, they would see his as a sign from god that they should give more. Do you see this a a sign that you are giving too much? How do you interpret meaningful spiritual signs?

  4. I’ve learned my lessons, I’ still rather prefer the conventional type of paying cash. It seems this kind of payment gets me to be confused. I’d rather deal with payments the old way.

  5. Interesting article. Auto payments can make our life easier, but we still need to monitor things in case of glitches in the technology.

    • Thank you. This is the first glitch I’ve ever had with automatic payments so I’d say I got a best-case scenario.


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