We’re all about to see more money in our paychecks thanks to lower payroll taxes, but if you want to use the savings to payoff your student loans, you better act on the one day that Citibank will take your money. At least that’s what Citibank told reader Valori, who tried sending the bank a check with instructions to apply it towards the principal on her student loans. The bank instead applied it to her usual monthly payment and told her that the only way to pay down her principal was to “setup an automatic payment on the Citibank website to debit on the same day as [the] automatic payment is direct debited.” Does that seem easy to anyone?
I’m a regular Consumerist reader, but this is the first time I’ve gotten pissed off enough to actually write to you. With the recent adjustment in payroll taxes that took place after the latest stimulus bill was passed, I decided to send the extra money in my paychecks to The Student Loan Corporation c/o Citibank in order to pay down my loan. I’m already enrolled in their direct debit payment system in order to take advantage of the .25% interest rate deduction they offer, so I made the mistake of writing them a check and enclosing with it a letter to put the extra payment towards the principal balance of my loan with the highest interest rate, which also happens to be the loan with the highest balance, thinking that they would actually do what I told them to do with the check I sent.
I saw the check cleared a few days after I mailed it and thought nothing more of it; however, when it came time for the auto-debit to occur on the 23rd of the month, imagine my surprise when I saw that freaking Citibank deducted the extra payment amount from what was due and only debited the difference out of my checking account.
I called Customer Service this morning and spoke to Unhelpful Jim, who informed me that the only way to make an extra principal payment is to setup an automatic payment on the Citibank website to debit on the same day as my automatic payment is direct debited. I am trying to give this gigantic, screw-up of a corporation even more of my money than I am supposed to and THEY WON’T TAKE IT! No wonder the banking system is in the toilet!