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Consumer Alert: Citi May Move Your Due Date Without Notice

Earlier this week, my fiancee went online to pay her Citibank credit card. She logged in and was about to make a payment when she realized that the bill was due that day. Thing is, her due date had always been more than a week later in the month. Sure enough, the next statement close date was still weeks off. And yet, this month’s due date was today.

To make a disconcerting situation worse, we realized that because it was already after 5 p.m., even if she paid the bill that minute, she would technically be paying late, since the payment would not post until the next day. (And, speaking from experience, Citi will not only ding you a fee for being one day late (for the first time), but also jack up your interest rate for an entire year).

I told her to call Citi immediately to find out why her payment due date had changed without notice. She did. She never got any answers—or an admission that Citi did anything to change her due date, whether intentionally or unintentionally—just “sorry for the inconvenience.” They moved the date back and assured her there would be no late fee. Thank goodness.

But the question remains: Why did they move the due date? Was it a mistake, or a deceptive trick to give them a chance to charge a higher interest rate? Perhaps we’ll never know, but the experience serves as an important reminder to us—and to you—to always check every bill for errors and to follow up immediately if you find any!

Has Citi moved anybody else’s payment due date? Let me know.

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. Sneaky Citi – my date’s the same but thanks for making me check. I’m sure Mint would’ve emailed me to let me know my payment was due.

  2. I’m not with Citi but they’ve started doing this on my visa card in Canada about 3 months ago. I’m still allowed the same 17 day interest free period but the dates jump around ever so slightly in the hopes of making you more likely to pay a penalty. This month, they’ve allowed me to “take a month off” with a $0 min. payment in the hopes that I won’t and – you guessed it – make me fall into a debt I can’t afford. There are lots of stories like this….

    I love the convenience of a credit card and use it at many a juncture. However, this silly business steels my resolve to never pay the credit card companies a red cent more than I have to.

  3. Yikes! I’m glad you were able to sort it out without having to pay late fees. For my daily use credit card, we are not able to setup automatic payments in advance; the only day they allow you to pay is the day that the bill is due; I worry that some glitch is going to cause the payment to not go through and ding me with late fees/credit score issues, which is why I still pay the credit card manually.

    Credit card companies are very sneaky.

  4. I have a checking and savings account with Citibank, and recently they changed their overdraft protection procedures without telling anyone.

    Since I have three linked accounts with them — one of which is a high yield savings — I typically move most of my paycheck into that account leaving just enough for my monthly bills in the regular checking. I have overdraft protection which covers me if I don’t transfer my money over in time, but last month I accidentally overdrew my account by a few dollars. Not only did they not cover it with my overdraft funds, but also charged me a $30 overdraft fee.

    When I contacted them about it, they stated that they had changed their policies and now if I wanted to elect to have my overdraft funds accessed, they will charge me $10 to automatically move those funds over, which sort of undermines the whole point if you ask me. Looks like they’re trying to find extra income any way they can by not alerting their customers about their policy changes.

  5. They did the same to me as for changing the due date to Christmas, actually. It had always been the 31st and suddenly it was due on Christmas…I checked my account the day after Christmas to pay the bill on time and then realized that they had moved up the date so I was charged the late fee and hiked up interest rate. How sneaky…

  6. They did the same thing to us. When I called about it, a rude customer service man told me that the reason the due date went from 25 day grace period to a 20 day one, is that because when we pay earlier than the due date, their computer gradually lowers the grace period. So, basically they are setting you up to be over due somewhere along the line (which we were last month) to charge you the large late fee and interest, there by getting more money out of you. And, of course they won’t reverse any late fees or interest charges either. I’ve not seen anything in writing that this is their practice, but it sounds like legalized robbery to me!

  7. Bren – that sounds like “breach of contract”. You should have paperwork that states what your grace period is (not was). It’s not the same card you signed up for, in that case. I would create a stink,

  8. Oblivia,
    I am in the process of looking all my paperwork over to see when this started and then I plan on making some calls. I also found an article that Consumer Affairs has found complaints like this about Citibank and Chase from as far back as 2001. Here is the link to that article: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2008/03/floating_due_dates.html
    Credit card holder beware!

  9. I recently bought a tv with a new Sears card (Citibank) 18 months with no finance charges. My first statement due date was 8/11. I called and asked about the due dates, I was told it may vary 2-4 days each month.

    I said ok, got my second statement last week, I wrote a note to pay by Sept 6 on the envelope.

    Opened it up and BAM…bill due by Sept 1.
    Wow, that’s a bit more than 2-4 days like I was told. I called and they said they would take off the $35 late fee. My fault for not opening when it arrived.

    This time customer service person said “the date could vary between 3-5 days.” Very deceptful in my opinion.

    The customer service girl was nice, guess I got lucky on that call.

    Please be aware of this practice.

  10. They did it to me a year or two ago and promptly corrected the matter.

    However, recently they’ve done it again. The due date was moved up, making my payment late and worse, raising my interest to 25%! That was two months ago.

    Today, I went in to check the amount due and found payment due date had changed from the 19th to the 16th. I logged out and came back several hours later to pay the bill. I found that in those few hours, my payment due date had changed to the 14th!

    It’s one thing to move the date around, but to change it from today’s date to two days previous within hours?! Absurd.

    Why on earth do they allow clients to select a due date when they intend to change it to an earlier date (never a later date).

  11. KillTheBankers says:

    Fast forward to the new age under the crappy credit card law that took effect Aug 22, 2010. Citibank now has my payments due on Sundays, meaning I have to pay them two days earlier, or get nailed. Nice.

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