What To Do When Citibank Charges You Interest On A Zero Balance

A Consumerist reader was surprised to find that Citibank had applied a finance charge on a zero balance account. She did what every good Consumerist should do: prepared her evidence, jumped quickly ahead to a live person on the Customer Service side, and resolved the issue. Here’s what happened:


Today, I got a nice little email reminder from my bank that I had a new bill from Citicard! This was very surprising to me, as I had just paid off my balance last month. So, I log in to my online bill pay and sure enough, there is a new bill from Citicard for $12.39! Hmmm…. I wondered what that could be for, as I had cut up my card months ago, and I knew I had just paid off the balance. So, naturally, I logged into my online account with Citicard and took a closer look. And to my sheer amazement, I found I was indeed charged a $12.39 finance charge on my account. “Did they not get my payment!?!?”, I wondered. So I look a little closer, and pull up my latest statement, and this is what I found!

Now, even though it didn’t exactly show what my “previous” balance was at the time this statement was generated, it does show that I made two payments in that billing period. One, which was a balance transfer that I decided to make, (thanks to a lovely post about saving money with lesser- or no-interest balance transfer cards that I saw a couple weeks back on Consumerist.com), and a smaller payment that was the difference in the balance on the card and the amount of the balance transfer payment. I also check the statement from the previous billing period, just to make sure that I had paid the correct amount.

The two amounts matched up, so I quickly snatched up the phone. I called up Citicard, and just held on the line without entering my account number or anything, ( I learned several calls ago, not to enter in my account number and I will eventually get a real person on the line,) and told the customer service lady what my problem was. She was very courteous and even though I had to be put on hold for about 3 minutes, she was able to see the error on Citicard’s part and take off the finance charge with no hassle whatsoever.

Being an avid reader of Consumerist.com, I just felt it was worth the time to share this story with the rest of your readers, and to remind them to be vigilant in paying attention to all those little things. Had I not paid close attention to my accounts, I might just have sent another payment in. Thank you Consumerist.com!

Thalen’s Mom

(Photo: TheTruthAboutMortgage.com)