Credit Cards

What to do when you overpay your credit cards

Comments 17 Comments

You know you are a true credit nerd when you accidentally overpay your credit card bill by $200. You see, I don’t wait for the billing cycles on my credit cards. Instead, I obsessively login online and pay down the balances about once a week. I guess one payment was still processing when I logged to MBNA again and paid the full total. Their online account system can be very confusing and automatically builds in a delay on your payments. The result – a $200 credit on my account.

Letting the credit card company keep that $200 safe for me just didn’t seem right. So I called into the MBNA customer service line to see if I could get the credit returned to my account. After 20 minutes on hold, I gave up and tried calling again later that night. When I finally got through to a representative, a nice woman informed me that a $200 refund could be sent back to me via paper check at the end of my billing cycle. That process could take weeks. Instead, I decided to leave the credit on my account. I’ll use up the $200 balance over the next few weeks worth on groceries and other expenses.

What would you have done in my situation? Have you overpaid your credit card before? Do you have a great "credit nerd" story to share?  Post your feedback in the comments section below.

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  • Liz S.

    Oh, I did something pretty bad. A few years ago, I wrote out two checks. One was for rent and one was for the water & sewer bill. I would drop off the rent check normally and mail the w&s bill. Well I accidentally mailed my rent check to the w&s company, who was able to cash it, even though it wasn’t even made out to them. I noticed it when I went to drop off rent and had a $30 check made out to w&s. It was a hassle to get the money refunded but it would have taken 3 years to use up that credit! I’m still annoyed that no one noticed that it was an unusually large sum of money made out to SOMEONE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, yet they cashed it anyway.

  • Emily Davidson

    That’s a great story, Liz. I can’t believe the water and sewer company was able to cash a check that wasn’t even made out to them!

  • Emma

    Liz, that kinda crap happens all the time. It’s been years since it’s happened to us, but it was a hassle getting everything straightened out.
    I can’t say we’ve ever overpaid on a credit card. We haven’t had one for over a year now, and when we had them, we carried a balance and paid as much as we could each month.

  • drock

    i just did this. But i had sent a payment via mail and it posted 4 weeks later!!! so i paid the same amount hoping to not miss the payment due date.
    Worst part is, it was my CLOSING BALANCE, they told me theyd be sending me a check since i wont be using the card. good post!

  • valerie

    I cant believe this. I paid a credit card bill about 1 year ago. The lady on the phone told me I overpaid by 4K. That is right Four thousand dollars. I told her I wanted to cancel the card. I said to her that she will send me the check or a statement. She said yes. IT was a rushed conversation. I waited and waited and had so much on my plate with so much that I forgot which credit card I paid off the 4k. About three months ago I went to my credit history via credit check and called all the credit cards. They said that my account is closed with a 0 balance. This does not make sense. And it does not show up on my credit check from one year to now. I am trying to go through all my merrill lynch stuff but it is really a dig. How can I resolve this? anyone out there know what to do. Please help me. THANKS

  • valerie rovins

    About one year and a half ago I was told my the customer service that I overpaid by four thousand dollars. I also cancelled that card at that time. My last words to her were…SO YOU WILL SEND ME THE OVER PAYMENT ON MY NEXT BILL??? By the way, that was a question. She flippantly said YES. I waited and waited and because I got so involved in a lot of credit card 0 interest that I FORGOT the credit card. I looked up my information on the three credit agencies but that did not seem to help. I called the credit cards but they flippantly say that there is nothing there. Actually, that is code for the money is hidden somewhere that I will have to have the exact account no. or they will not give anything excpet current accounts. I vividly remember her saying that I overpaid by 4K. I paid that account off on my x husbands m. lynch account. I have asked him for his password and id so I can do a discovery. For the last three months that has been a disaster as well. They never work and he has to be there… blah blah blah. I know this seems sloppy but I discovered since I closed my account, I have to request the money and they dont have to do a darn thing. I am even afraid that once I do the discovery and get the account nos during that time that they will not tell the truth out of it being so long ago. Is there anything I can do to get this info without having to get my x to make this happen. Is there a person or organization or what? Honestly there is 4k out there with my name on it. Please help.

  • irvine,ca

    I did this once, and all I did was to go to the bank and get a cash advance using my credit card. Then call the credit card back and have them waive the fee, since you are only taking money back that is yours. As long as you are taking only your credit, they will be happy to waive the fee, it costs a company $200 to issue someone a check, due to all the processing, people involved not to mention time.
    Oh! and the only time you want to overpay your credit card is when you travel overseas and need to make a cash withdrawl, same concept applies, although they could charge you a currency conversion fee of 1%.

  • anthony

    I do this regularly. I keep a credit of about $380 on my credit card and no one has ever complained. It works just fine for me.

  • DAVE

    Anthony – You said you keep a credit balance on your card couple of questions
    Is there any fees for overpayment that you know of? Or any clause if you do not use the card for a length of time with a credit balance?
    I am assuming you still use the card on a regular basis for transactions.
    Any idea on how this is showing on your credit report? Is it a plus or a neutral or minus?
    Do you have more than one card you do this with?
    Any idea if it is affecting whether they give you a credit increase?
    Only reason I ask is I am considering doing the same with some of my cards.
    It would be nice to have a little insurance against tougher times. And things are going well at this time that it is affordable.

  • paullian

    i m a tmobile user. i had overpaid my bill about 553 dollars and.14 cents by debit card on 12.04.2009. my monthly payment is 53dollars and 14, i want to get back a mounts of my overpaid.

  • davids

    I actually overpay my credit cards .50 with every
    statement and then request a refund ,Its a game to see
    how long I can keep this up until they cancel me
    for over paying… lol
    Great technique to get a lower rate.

  • mustafa

    i overpay acca 69 pound

  • Annie

    I was wondering if all credit cards will send you the overpayment now with the new laws. I tried to pay off a card with all the interest but Chase said I could not do it online and had to go to a branch. The branch said they can not calculate! So I thought I payed enough to have a credit with them. Usually companies send a letter that a check will arrive. Some companies have sent checks w/o me asking in the past but now I am not sure what they do.
    Does anyone know how to pay online in full including the interest up to date of payment???

  • carolione

    I received statements for over a year reporting a credit (negative) balance from a supplier. I let it sit there figuring that one day I would use it or they would simply send a check for the amount of credit – $41.96. I just happened to call and was told it had been “written off.” How can this be right? I received no notification that it would disappear. I thought they would have to send the check before they simply closed it out. thanks for your reply.

    • Charlie

      They should have sent the money to your State’s Comptroller’s Office or the like in your jurisdiction ;)

      Try one of those “found money” web sites.. Google it.

  • Cyrus Blades

    I usually keep my cards paid off, and this one time i had bought an item from target for about $30 and paid it off… when i decided to return the item because it was junk i had a $30 cedit on my account. So CreditOne bank owed my $30… it BOOSTED my credit score by 50 or 60 points in that 1 month alone. Maybe something cool to look into for jucing up your score a little bit…?

  • Leon Gralnic

    You are not a true credit nerd for overpaying your credit card bill. You are a true nerd for spending an effort to get it refunded to you knowing that your card is used on constant basis

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