Friday, June 10, 2016

Bill Pay Glitch At Bank of America

Like many Alaskans, I only have a Bank of America Visa card because it's the only way to get an Alaska Airlines card.  And I use their Bill Pay program to transfer money from my Alaska checking account to pay my monthly Visa bill.

But my mother had a checking and savings account with BofA and there came a time when I had to get my name on those accounts too.  I was a little surprised to see those accounts pop up on my electronic  Bank of America page.  But it made sense and it made it easy to monitor those accounts. 

Early May, I scheduled a payment for June 1.  

June 8, my credit card was declined.  

I called Bank of America.   It seems my payment hadn't been received.  But I've learned to take screen shots every month that show that I paid and I even had the reference number.

So I said, "I scheduled it on Bill Pay, I have proof."  

After a while, he said, "You don't have Bill Pay."  


He asked if I'd closed any accounts lately.  Yes, I'd closed my mom's accounts when we were in LA in May.  

It turns out that when they closed the accounts, they closed my Bill Pay as well.  And my payment, scheduled for June 1, simply disappeared.  I got no notice that a)  my Bill Pay had been shut down or b) my payment evaporated with it.  I only found out when a credit card payment was declined and I called to find out why.  

Here's how it was explained to me:

The bill pay feature is different if you only have a credit card from also having other accounts at Bank of America.

  1. So, when I got added onto my mother's accounts, my old Bill Pay was cancelled and a new one was established.  (I may even have been involved.  I have vague recollections now as I write this, but if so, at the time, I thought it was just a screwup that cancelled my Bill Pay and I was just re-setting it up. 
  2. A new, different kind of Bill Pay, that allowed payments from the Bank of America accounts as well as payments to the Visa account to be made from external accounts was set up.  
  3. When I closed my mother's accounts, the bill pay was closed too.  Even though there was a pending, scheduled payment.  

I still can't believe they would shut down a pending, scheduled payment without telling me.  

They were nice about it and quickly removed the late fee and interest without my having to ask.  This was all complicated by a larger than normal payment I'd made with my credit card showing up twice in my pending payment list bumping me (without my scheduled June payment) above my limit. 

Fix Needed
They clearly need to add to their computer code, that when bill pay is being closed for a customer when there is a pending, scheduled payment, that the customer is notified.

I suspect not too many people will fall into this situation, but with millions of credit card holders, I'm sure there are others.  So this is a heads up.  

I did call the woman who closed my mom's old accounts in the Santa Monica branch.  She was always very helpful, and clearly on my side.  So I called her to let her know what happened.  Not to complain, but to let her know.  She had no idea that could have happened either.  

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