Screwing Myself With The Credit Card I Swore I’d Pay Off Every Month

Identity-Thief-image-3I am a person who puts debit cards in her pocket and then leaves them there, and then goes a week without it and is just like, “Okay, I don’t know where my debit card is, I know it’s somewhere in a coat pocket or a jeans pocket or a tote bag, I’ll look for it later.”

I like to think of this as “zen” and not lazy. Fate will bring me back to my debit card at the exact right time I need it!

Or you know, I’ll be at the grocery store buying granola bars and remember I don’t know where my debit card is — okay I don’t know where EITHER of my debit cards are — so I panic a bit and then hand over my credit card, cringing a bit at paying for groceries with a credit card but oh well, there it is.

The woman swipes the card and then winces, handing it back to me. “It says the card was declined!” She did not really communicate this with the panache you’d think she’d have rehearsed in her head for the occasion. She was genuinely distraught for me, the woman with a baby strapped to her chest who was buying smoked tofu and mozzarella and organic shampoo. I was a little shocked. I knew I hadn’t paid off our hotel and rental car from a trip a month ago but I also knew I still had lots of credit on there.

Was my card info stolen? Did I buy a bunch of things and forget about it?

Luckily I had cash on me and paid her and went home and did not look for my debit card.

I got an email from Capital One telling me my bill was overdue, so I went to log in and pay it once and for all. Except my browser no longer auto-filled my username and I had no damn idea what my username was. I tried a few. I tried resetting my password. I did a bunch of crap for too long without success and they threw me a vague error message about their system being down. I believed them — why?

The next day or a few days later or who knows I tried again and got the same message. I finally correctly suspected I was locked out because I tried too many usernames and they incorrectly figured I was a thief. This was on the weekend. Who wants to call on the weekend? I made up a story to myself about how they probably don’t answer their help line on the weekend. I added a reminder to my phone to call on Monday, so my card will be usable for when we rent a car in Portland on Wednesday (tonight).

I did not call Monday. Why? God, who likes to call the bank?

I finally called Tuesday. I told the guy I was locked out of my account and we went through the whole song and dance of my SSN, birthdate, etc. He gave me a temporary password and told me my username and I finally logged in. “Anything else I can help you with?” he said.

I was tempted to chirp, “No!!” but thought about us stranded in the rental car office and pushed forward. “Actually, um,” I said, “I just, I just want to make sure, so like, if I am at the store will my card be declined still? Is that ok?” I like to think I have an above average grasp of the English language overall, but I am WILDLY inarticulate with customer service people.

“Oh!” he said, “Let me take a look.” He came back and told me I had a past due payment so usage of my card would be blocked until I paid the minimum amount. First of all: what?! How is this a policy? Is this normal? My account is a month past due at most. In itself ridiculous because I have the money, I just literally hadn’t made time to transfer it between accounts.

I told him I’d pay when I got off the phone. He said that as soon as the payment was processed, the account would be unlocked THE NEXT DAY.

Again I say to you: WHAT. I still had $761 in available credit! Enough for a rental car deposit.

I paid off the balance and raged about this to Dustin and prayed it would go through same-day. The website says if you post payment before 5pm it will go through by midnight, so my card SHOULD be available in time to rent the car.

SHOULD.

Anyway, I forced myself to look at what fees I incurred while procrastinating figuring out my username and paying this card off. Ugh. UGH. $25 late fee and $38.94 in interest. So much for, “I’ll just pay this card off every month and never pay Capital One a dime!”

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