It can happen to the best of us, even generally financially savvy writers who hold business degrees. Those tantalizing credit card offers and bank representatives praise you for your excellent credit score and then immediately begin offering you credit cards with high limits. Would you like an American Express gold card to flash around? No problem, they’ll say – simply tell them how much you’d like to spend per month, and the financial customer service reps will input whatever amount you choose to see if you’re approved.
Spending large sums like $10,000 per month in small business expenditures on your American Express card might not be a problem, either, as long as your income exceeds the minimum payment amounts due. Known mainly as being a charge card – one that lets users conveniently charge items and services that can be paid in full each month – American Express also has a “pay over time” feature that makes it operate more like a credit card.
When you can’t make your minimum payment: How to enroll in American Express auto-pay to pay off your debt and stop the collection calls
The problem with high credit limits, a lack of planning, a dearth of clear business goals and a cash crunch means there may come a time when not only can you not afford to pay off the $10,000 balance charged up – you might not even be able to make the $2,400 or so minimum payment that American Express has assigned for that month.
That’s when the dreaded collection calls begin – and your best bet is to keep the debt with American Express’ debt collectors, instead of allowing it to be transferred to God knows who, which could be a shady collection agency. No wonder some fast cash loan places are so popular these days: People are probably desperate to pay off their debt. (See http://www.cashadvanceonline.net/)
With the American Express collection process, they will call intermittently to find out how much you can pay – and even if it is a paltry sum of $25 or less, it helps to offer them something, along with your bank account number so they can directly debit the amount you tell them out of your checking or savings account on the designated date you choose. The process can continue like that until the past-due debt is satisfied, but not many people like receiving debt collector calls in the mornings, evenings and weekends, so consider their “auto-pay” program to make the calls stop.
“AutoPay allows you to set up recurring automatic deductions from your bank account to pay your American Express account balance,” explains the company. Indeed, the first time this writer was offered the auto-pay option by a customer service rep, I didn’t take it, because you have to agree to have the monies debited from your account no later than 14 days after the agreement is made. I was quite upset weeks later when I discovered I’d lost the opportunity to enroll in the program by not jumping on board that day it was offered to me, but thank heaven it was offered again after speaking with a different customer service rep on a subsequent day, after breaking down in tears telling her I’d been selling things to repay my debt.
At that point, American Express offered to enroll me in their “AutoPay Special Payment Plan,” whereby payments are made on the 25th day of each month through September 2014, one year after I enrolled. A fixed amount of $490 is deducted monthly to pay off my business gold rewards card and $420 is taken out each month to pay off my green card.
The blessed part of the whole deal is that the company dropped my annual percentage rate (APR) down to 1% while paying off the debt – a bonus feature that makes the whole payoff process flow smoothly.
They might be difficult lessons to learn about credit cards, but thankfully auto-pay programs exist to help buyers reverse their spending errors.