Credit Cards: Help me find a card that will allow me to auto-pay the entire balance.
April 2, 2007 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Credit Card Filter: Help me find a card that let's me set auto-pay to pay off my full balance each month. My current cards only let me either auto-pay the minimum amount, or a specified dollar figure. No annual fees please.

I know I should be able to remember to log-in and pay it each month on time. But, what can I say? I don't! I've called a number of cards who say they'll do it, but when I push and try to get specific, it turns out they don't and I can't seem to find this using my trusty google b/c I just drown in credit card offers. I'm looking to save myself some late fees this way. Thanks!
posted by krudiger to Work & Money (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Any card from Chase will do this. You can pay the last statement balance, the current balance at the time the payment is due, the minimum payment, or an arbitrary amount.

I think Citi cards will too, but I have a couple cards from Chase and they both allow this.
posted by kindall at 6:09 PM on April 2, 2007

Maybe just get a calendar program? Google Calendar will alert you to do things on certain dates.
posted by DU at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2007

BofA and Chase have automatic payment options on their websites to pay off the entire previous statement balance.
Is that close enough? Do you actually need to pay off the full balance?
I don't have a balance on my Citi cards, and it complains about that when I try to check if I can set it up.
posted by yeoz at 6:11 PM on April 2, 2007

My Amazon Visa (from Chase) lets me deduct the full balance from my checking account on the very last day it's due (so I get maximum interest from my ING Direct checking account). Pretty handy. Of course you should at least browse your bill every month to make sure they're not pulling a fast one on you. I'm sure all Chase cards have the same deal. No annual fees on the Amazon card and you get gift certificates to said Internet Superstore every $2500 or so.
posted by berticus at 6:14 PM on April 2, 2007

Have you considered a debit card? Then there isn't any balance to pay off.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:20 PM on April 2, 2007

Wow. It blows my mind that any credit card would offer this service as it translates into a free loan that they are extending to you on a monthly basis. As Elizabeth Warren stated in her interview with Terry Gross, credit card companies call folks who pay off their credit card balance every month, "deadbeats."

We do pay off our credit cards monthly, and I've noticed that the credit card company occasionally changes the day of the month that our payments are due to try and trip us up. Once we are late with a payment, it takes at least another additional month to get back to paying zero interest. They really keep us on our toes. I don't know if you will ever be able to trust them to manage your payments completely.

(Why not a debit card? I don't care for the security risk if they are lost or stolen. So we don't have them. Just plain, old-fashioned ATM cards.)
posted by jeanmari at 6:38 PM on April 2, 2007

Wow. It blows my mind that any credit card would offer this service as it translates into a free loan that they are extending to you on a monthly basis.

Indeed. This is a relatively new feature for Chase, and it surprised me as well. I haven't had any problems with it after a few months of use. Perhaps they still make enough money on merchant fees to make us deadbeats worthwhile?
posted by berticus at 6:45 PM on April 2, 2007

My Northwest Airlines Visa card, issued by US Bank, does this. I haven't paid interest in years.

There is a $55 annual fee, but to me it's worth it for the long-term loans and free flights. I won't let them upgrade me to a gold card; don't need the extra credit and don't want the higher annual fees.
posted by bink at 7:16 PM on April 2, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, Everyone. I hear you on the debit card suggestions, but ideally I wanted something that gave me some sort of limited rewards. Also, I read an article in the LA Times recently that talked about how credit cards are safer in terms of theft than debit.
posted by krudiger at 7:25 PM on April 2, 2007

BofA has it. Not only that, but when times get tough and you call them and ask them to turn it off, they say they'll turn it off and then several months later, your balances are still getting paid off.

It's totally delightful!
posted by crinklebat at 7:32 PM on April 2, 2007

My Washington Mutual card has no annual fees, a neat APR of around 7 or 8% (can't recall the exact rate right now), and I'm pretty sure the autopay option lets you pay off the statement ending balance every month. If not (or in addition) it can be set up to automatically shoot you an email with the balance and deadline a couple of days before it needs to be paid. I've been very happy with mine.
posted by AwkwardPause at 8:48 PM on April 2, 2007

I get a monthly email reminder when my Capital One miles card statement is available online. I always pay it as soon as I get the reminder. A similar approach might work for you if you can't find exactly what you're looking for.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:21 AM on April 3, 2007

Once we are late with a payment, it takes at least another additional month to get back to paying zero interest.

Off on a tangent--but if you pay your credit card late accidentally, you don't need to wait until the next month to pay the next bill all the while building interest on the interest. Send them an intermediate payment that's relative to the amount of interest you paid on your last bill--generally about half the interest will cover it. This will stop the interest from accumulating for another month, and then the next statement you get will be correct.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:50 AM on April 3, 2007

REI Visa, offered by USBank, has no annual fee and an option to auto-pay the entire balance every month (there's a link to the form right off that link above). This card offers a decent annual cash back program even if you never buy anything at REI.
posted by mcstayinskool at 7:04 AM on April 3, 2007

Before you do this, let me give you a warning: Letting any merchant pull payments from your bank account automatically can cause you lots of headaches when something goes wrong. And eventually, something will go wrong.

In general, merchants sometimes (ahem) accidentally overcharge you, or bill you for services you didn't authorize. If you're lucky enough to catch it, you have to convince them to give you back your own money. You have very little leverage, and your bank won't help because you gave the merchant permission to withdraw in the first place. In the case of the credit card company, if you have a dispute about a charge on your card, too late, it's already been paid.

I understand the desire to put your bills on auto-pilot, but you're basically giving some faceless strangers a blank check every month, and telling them you don't plan on watching what they do with it.
posted by Gamblor at 8:55 AM on April 3, 2007

Seconding Gamblor.

My mom had a hell of a time getting a company to stop auto-debiting her checking account, and the bank was completely useless about it.

You should at a minimum be reading your bill each month for fraudulent charges.
posted by Four Flavors at 9:58 AM on April 3, 2007

I have my Chase card autopay each month. I receive the statement several days before they actually withdraw the money from my checking account, so if I see something fishy I have time undo my autopay or challenge the charge. It's not hard.
posted by look busy at 10:14 AM on April 3, 2007

Another vote for Bank of America. I get two emails every month: one when my statement is posted, and one when the full balance has been paid. You can even tell it to not pay and notify you if your funding source is be low a certain amount. There was a glitch once, and I was charged a late fee, but I wrote a note to their online support people, and I was refunded a couple days later.
posted by tuffbunny at 3:36 PM on April 3, 2007

krudiger, no info in your profile about where you live. I have a Bank of Montreal Mosaik MasterCard (they have a free version of mine with lesser rewards, but still rewards) and it gets paid off in full from my Bank of Montreal account every month. In fact, one month, the payment was a day late, and they credited me the interest that got charged due to their error...
posted by birdsquared at 8:54 PM on April 3, 2007

if you have a dispute about a charge on your card, too late, it's already been paid

Having paid your bill doesn't mean you can't dispute a charge. If your bank treats you like that, change banks.
posted by kindall at 11:14 PM on April 5, 2007

HSBC, Natwest and Citi have all done this for me in the past.
posted by arcticseal at 8:43 AM on April 6, 2007

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