American Express sneakery

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k5
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American Express sneakery

Post by k5 » Tue May 26, 2015 4:55 pm

I will call attention to this, just in case it prevents someone from being snagged:

American Express' online website has been recently changed slightly, and have deceptively changed how minimum payment and outstanding balance is displayed.

Previously, when you logged into your account, the actual outstanding balance was (actually nicely) called out in a large font. If you owed $500, you would know it.

Recently however, they have promoted the "minimum payment" into the largest font, and have seriously hidden the outstanding balance.

To be very honest, it JUST about worked! I logged in to see what my current bill was, so I could pay it. Saw it was zero (that's what it looked like), and thought - shoot, I must have already paid this bill online. Next task! Right as I was about to close the window, I saw the smaller balance number listed before. In the words of the Australian guy on the Jurrasic Park: "Clever girl..." (right before the velociraptor jumped him).

Take a look at this annotated screenshot, and you will see what I mean:

http://imgur.com/dY4LGXk

Unfortunately, I do not have a "before" picture.

Warmest regards,
J

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celia
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by celia » Tue May 26, 2015 5:13 pm

I was just logged into my AmEx account, but was looking for "specials" as they offered some by email. My balance was clearly noted. I wonder if you logged in while account balances were being updated or something. Try logging in the same way again and see if you get the same thing.

To avoid even having to log in, why don't you set up automatic payment in full each month? That way you don't have to worry about what you owe.
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by frugalecon » Tue May 26, 2015 5:14 pm

I don't understand your point. According to your screenshot, your billing cycle doesn't end until May 28. That is why you have no payment due. How can they calculate your minimum payment until your billing cycle ends? Maybe you will charge a Rolex on May 27.

drwtsn32
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by drwtsn32 » Tue May 26, 2015 5:14 pm

That's not the minimum payment.... the minimum payment shows up in the "middle" column, at least for me. Your middle column shows no payment due because they posted your payment and the next statement close date hasn't occurred yet.

Here's mine: http://i.imgur.com/m0BuNWw.png

The full balance from my last statement ($340.06) is still shown in the upper left corner, largest font, since that payment hasn't posted yet. The minimum payment ($35.00) is shown in the middle column. That will disappear once payment is posted until the next statement cycle ends (like what yours shows). I did not include my right-most column (cash back reward balance).

sport
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by sport » Tue May 26, 2015 5:15 pm

The web site for my Costco Amex does not work this way. The big number is the balance due, and the minimum payment is the small number.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by drwtsn32 » Tue May 26, 2015 5:23 pm

This is what I think the numbers mean:

Current balance = total owed on last statement
Oustanding balance = current balance + charges accrued since last statement


Current balance will show zero when full payment is posted. But then when the billing cycle closes, that number will of course go back up based on the charges on the new statement.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by IPer » Tue May 26, 2015 5:47 pm

Agreeing with the OP about the font size choice (and placement of the items) but adding that all of the
websites for all the cards I hold has some sort of software "trick" like this built in. Almost as if they have
a special software "trick" department that tries to come up with these things. Of course, for those who
are on top of things, we tend to read the fine print when things change (the scenery as you log in/out of
sites) and always strive to fully understand what we are clicking on. On another credit card login, in the
payments section, they don't show the current balance when I go to pay the card, it is nowhere to be found,
no total balance either, just minimum payment amount (which is usually zero on my accounts unless
1-2 days after statement close) and how much and the from account selection. So when I pay I need to:

1. Note the current balance.
2. Note the total due.
3. Figure out how much I want to pay.
4. Keep that figure when I delve into the Payments section.

If I owned a company and my "guys" wrote software that forced the user to work as above I would have
a reputation as a screamer. So me thinks that these are built in "features" and intentional.
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NonnyGoGo
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by NonnyGoGo » Tue May 26, 2015 5:58 pm

I'm a little off topic but I hope you are all looking at those special offers at the bottom of the log-in page. Last month they offered a $25 statement credit for a $50 purchase at Smart and Final. I received the credit within days of the purchase. I also saw a $5 credit for a $5 purchase on itunes and other similar offers in the past.

Louis Winthorpe III
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Louis Winthorpe III » Tue May 26, 2015 6:08 pm

frugalecon wrote:I don't understand your point. According to your screenshot, your billing cycle doesn't end until May 28. That is why you have no payment due. How can they calculate your minimum payment until your billing cycle ends? Maybe you will charge a Rolex on May 27.
Yeah, I don't get it either. Showing zero due when zero is due doesn't seem like trickery to me.

Lazysundays
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Lazysundays » Tue May 26, 2015 6:13 pm

My Mint tells me real time balances. But that one is automated to pay in full each month. It's my travel points card ;)

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backpacker
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by backpacker » Tue May 26, 2015 6:16 pm

drwtsn32 wrote:That's not the minimum payment.... the minimum payment shows up in the "middle" column, at least for me. Your middle column shows no payment due because they posted your payment and the next statement close date hasn't occurred yet.

Here's mine: http://i.imgur.com/m0BuNWw.png

The full balance from my last statement ($340.06) is still shown in the upper left corner, largest font, since that payment hasn't posted yet. The minimum payment ($35.00) is shown in the middle column. That will disappear once payment is posted until the next statement cycle ends (like what yours shows). I did not include my right-most column (cash back reward balance).
This is correct. "Current Balance" represent the portion of the balance from the last statement that has not yet been paid. "Outstanding Balance" includes that and purchases made since the last statement. Neither are the minimum payment.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by IPer » Tue May 26, 2015 6:21 pm

Louis Winthorpe III wrote:
frugalecon wrote:I don't understand your point. According to your screenshot, your billing cycle doesn't end until May 28. That is why you have no payment due. How can they calculate your minimum payment until your billing cycle ends? Maybe you will charge a Rolex on May 27.
Yeah, I don't get it either. Showing zero due when zero is due doesn't seem like trickery to me.
Guys! This is not what the OP is talking about. Re read perhaps?
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Archie Sinclair
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Archie Sinclair » Tue May 26, 2015 7:26 pm

IPer wrote:
Louis Winthorpe III wrote:
frugalecon wrote:I don't understand your point. According to your screenshot, your billing cycle doesn't end until May 28. That is why you have no payment due. How can they calculate your minimum payment until your billing cycle ends? Maybe you will charge a Rolex on May 27.
Yeah, I don't get it either. Showing zero due when zero is due doesn't seem like trickery to me.
Guys! This is not what the OP is talking about. Re read perhaps?
IPer, you should re-read the Amex screenshot. The "Current Balance" (in large letters) is the amount that is due. The OP has misinterpreted it as the "minimum payment," but it is not the minimum payment. Meanwhile, the "Outstanding Balance" (in small letters) includes both the amount that is due and the amount that will be due in the next monthly bill.

For example, let's say that I spend exactly $500 each month, every month. My "Current Balance" might be $500 and my "Outstanding Balance" might be as much as $1,000. The minimum payment (which Amex does not displayed here) might be $75. I can avoid interest charges by paying $500; I don't need to pay $1,000.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by IPer » Tue May 26, 2015 7:38 pm

Archie Sinclair wrote:
IPer wrote:
Louis Winthorpe III wrote:
frugalecon wrote:I don't understand your point. According to your screenshot, your billing cycle doesn't end until May 28. That is why you have no payment due. How can they calculate your minimum payment until your billing cycle ends? Maybe you will charge a Rolex on May 27.
Yeah, I don't get it either. Showing zero due when zero is due doesn't seem like trickery to me.
Guys! This is not what the OP is talking about. Re read perhaps?
IPer, you should re-read the Amex screenshot. The "Current Balance" (in large letters) is the amount that is due. The OP has misinterpreted it as the "minimum payment," but it is not the minimum payment. Meanwhile, the "Outstanding Balance" (in small letters) includes both the amount that is due and the amount that will be due in the next monthly bill.

For example, let's say that I spend exactly $500 each month, every month. My "Current Balance" might be $500 and my "Outstanding Balance" might be as much as $1,000. The minimum payment (which Amex does not displayed here) might be $75. I can avoid interest charges by paying $500; I don't need to pay $1,000.
I don't know all I see are a bunch of zeroes!

Yeah, you are right, I misread the OPs labeling, however, I do agree that neither should really be promoted, I also agree with AmEx to not show
the minimum payment amount, those that need to know that should have to dig for it! I also maintain that, whereas the AmEx site is the absolute
best software among the sites of the cards I hold, others have issues (which I pointed out) which would make me scream as a designer/owner.
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by bertilak » Wed May 27, 2015 8:45 am

AMEX user here. I too was confused a bit at first, but for a different reason.

It was not immediately obvious what the difference was between "current balance" and "outstanding balance." Both of those are "current" numbers. If not why even show them to me?

What they call "current balance" is the balance from your last bill, less any payments you may have made already.
What they call "outstanding balance" is the total amount you are still in debt to them for.

Add in the minimum payment due number and you have three numbers, any one of which may be the most important number to some people.

I guess it is hard to come up with accurate, concise, and obvious names for all three of those those things.
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Drew777
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Drew777 » Wed May 27, 2015 8:50 am

American Express's online profiles are displayed differently than most other credit card companies, so you have to pay attention at first. Also, my Platinum profile looks totally different than my wife's SPG profile, even though they're both American Express.

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Kosmo
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Kosmo » Wed May 27, 2015 9:41 am

bertilak wrote:What they call "current balance" is the balance from your last bill, less any payments you may have made already.
What they call "outstanding balance" is the total amount you are still in debt to them for.
It seems the OP is confused on the difference between Current Balance and Outstanding Balance. Current Balance will go to $0.00 after that month's balance has been paid in full regardless of what additional charges have been made. The Outstanding Balance becomes the Current Balance at the end of the billing cycle. Rinse and repeat.

I have 2 AmEx credit cards and both display the information in exactly the same manner.

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JMacDonald
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by JMacDonald » Wed May 27, 2015 9:51 am

I have two American Express cards. I pay online. I don't find either of those cards confusing to pay or understand.
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takeshi
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by takeshi » Wed May 27, 2015 10:34 am

I don't get it either but maybe the thread will help others like the OP. IMO if one is relying so heavily on font size with no other verification then maybe that system of managing accounts needs to be reassessed. If I'm in doubt about whether an account was paid I have multiple places to crosscheck.

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k5
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by k5 » Wed May 27, 2015 1:35 pm

Thanks to all who have replied. I will try to explain this a little better (Apologies if it was confusing)—

The intention was basically to show that previously (I don't know when AMEX implemented the interface change), the number most prominently shown was the outstanding balance (to me this means - "total amount of money that you owe AMEX, in this exact moment in time. If you wrote them a check today for this number, you would owe them nothing." - this number includes whatever the balance on the previous statement was, AND charges made in this billing period). I generally expect this number to match exactly what Mint's outstanding balance says.

Since AMEX has changed the interface however, it appears AMEX is instead now prominently showing the CURRENT balance (from reading posts in the thread, I understand this to mean: "charges in this billing period, NOT including the balances on the previous statement"). Depending on when in the statement cycle you look at the number, thus number would substantially differ from the Outstanding balance.

To give a little additional color as to how I use the AMEX interface:
I never "wait" for invoices, statements, or anything like that before paying the credit card bill. Those billing periods are basically arbitrary to me. What I care about is the amount I owe the credit card company at any point in time (outstanding balance). I basically "square up" once I get my paycheck, which is twice a month. I just log into AMEX, take a look at the outstanding payment, and pay whatever the balance is. The idea is - I would NEVER carry over a balance month to month. In the end, the whole credit card balance gets paid down to zero regularly within the month, perhaps several times.

When "outstanding balance" was prominently shown, I can IMMEDIATELY see "oh, my balance is now at $900 - that's getting a bit high, I will go ahead and just pay that down now". Click on Ally, bill pay, send Amex $900, done and paid.

Now, when "current balance" is now prominently shown, that outstanding balance is not so obviously shown: (I suppose?) if I had $900 worth of charges within the billing period ending May 1 for example, and then make no charges for the week of May 4-8, and then log in on May 9th , this most prominent number might just say $0, because there have been no charges in THIS billing period. Because it is not prominently showing the $900 balance from last month, perhaps I will make a mistake and assume "oh, I guess my outstanding balance is $0" as I did, at first glance. My system still works fine - I just need to look a bit closer at the "outstanding balance" in smaller print. No big deal.

My theory: The "sneakery" I implied in the original post, is that it appears that AMEX wants the consumer to focus and think about the current charges in THIS statement, and de-emphasize the balance from last month. So perhaps, if you had $2000 balance on your previous statement, and then paid the minimum payment, and then a week passes, and you now enter the next statement cycle: The "big number" says $0, rather than $2000. This smaller number may psychologically think that you owe AMEX less money, and can spend more using their card. Perhaps I am reading too much into their intentions :)

If folks think otherwise, I would like to understand this better. Perhaps I am missing something (or the way that I use the credit card differs compared to more traditional credit card users - that is: spend money, wait until paper statement, pay the statement - partial balance or full, and then keep on spending).

Again, many thanks for the feedback & thoughts.
J

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by prudent » Wed May 27, 2015 1:59 pm

My statement has just been sent but I have not paid it yet. Here's what I see.

Current balance = the balance on my statement that was just sent.
Outstanding balance = the sum total of everything unpaid (my statement balance + new charges since that statement was sent).

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by topos » Wed May 27, 2015 2:00 pm

It makes sense that current balance is the most important number to show for most people. One pay interest on that current balance if not pay in full by due date. There is no interest on (outstanding balance - current balance) (new charge during that period).
I do think the OP use the credit card in a way not common to many people. I very rarely find any reason to pay in advance my outstanding balance. But i pay the current balance (last month statement) as soon as i recieve it.
I do not find any problem with AMEX here.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by bertilak » Wed May 27, 2015 2:26 pm

topos wrote:It makes sense that current balance is the most important number to show for most people. One pay interest on that current balance if not pay in full by due date. There is no interest on (outstanding balance - current balance) (new charge during that period).
I do think the OP use the credit card in a way not common to many people. I very rarely find any reason to pay in advance my outstanding balance. But i pay the current balance (last month statement) as soon as i recieve it.
I do not find any problem with AMEX here.
I like to pay in advance. I pay about once a week. This keeps the balance low so when the billing (closing) date comes a lower balance is reported to the credit bureaus. It also evens out the cash flow and discourages me from running up too high a balance on the card.

I know most people don't care too much about the credit bureau aspect, but I got burned by that once not too long ago. My score dropped because I was using too high a percentage of my overall credit limit. I pay almost everything except mortgage and car payment via this one credit card so it gets LOTS of money passing through. Even though it gets paid off every month the credit bureau see it as an outstanding balance owed to the card company. I did two things -- asked for a limit increase and started paying early.

A related "trick" I use: I set up the CC to automatically grab the minimum payment from my bank. It only does this if the minimum hasn't been paid already. A fail-safe mechanism.
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Almost there » Wed May 27, 2015 4:48 pm

I just went online and under the tab: HOME I saw the following 3 columns:

Current balance ---- Payment due ---- Reward dollars
And amounts added below

No problem whatsoever.

If you really want to be sure of the amount you owe, after the month closed, go to statements and either look at the first page online and take note the amount that is due or print it.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by backpacker » Wed May 27, 2015 5:10 pm

k5 wrote: Since AMEX has changed the interface however, it appears AMEX is instead now prominently showing the CURRENT balance (from reading posts in the thread, I understand this to mean: "charges in this billing period, NOT including the balances on the previous statement"). Depending on when in the statement cycle you look at the number, thus number would substantially differ from the Outstanding balance.
That's not right. Current balance means charges from your LAST statement that have not yet been paid.
k5 wrote: Now, when "current balance" is now prominently shown, that outstanding balance is not so obviously shown: (I suppose?) if I had $900 worth of charges within the billing period ending May 1 for example, and then make no charges for the week of May 4-8, and then log in on May 9th , this most prominent number might just say $0, because there have been no charges in THIS billing period.
No. The current balance will be $900. If you make a payment of $500 and a charge of $100 between May 2-8, your current balance will be $400 and your outstanding balance $500.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Doom&Gloom » Wed May 27, 2015 5:26 pm

I don't know if AMEX changed their listings on their website or not, but it seems very clear on my account. I schedule my payment (in full) soon after the statement cuts, and it has never presented a problem.

Not sure if this relates to OP's issue or not: Soon after my wife and I were married, she asked me to look at one of CC accounts to figure out why she didn't understand the amount it said she owed. She paid her account much like it seems OP pays his (albeit, sadly, with some late fees thrown in). She didn't pay before the statement cut, but when she paid, she always paid the outstanding balance rather the statement balance. After struggling through several of her most recent statements, I had to admit that I had neither the patience nor the ability to reconcile her accounting with that of the CC issuer. I advised her simply to pay the statement balance each month when the bill came. Since she began doing that she has not had to ask me to explain a single statement to her.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Planner » Wed May 27, 2015 5:27 pm

k5 wrote:In the words of the Australian guy on the Jurrasic Park: "Clever girl..." (right before the velociraptor jumped him).
You just made my day. I loved that movie.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by TxAg » Wed May 27, 2015 9:53 pm

We tried AmEx out this spring. They have good customer servicem over the phone, but I despise their website and much of the "reward" offerings proved gimicky...at least that is our findings. I'm closing my account with them.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by beyou » Wed May 27, 2015 10:06 pm

Best service of the cc companies, have used as my primary for many years.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by k5 » Thu May 28, 2015 8:43 am

Thanks everyone!

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by MnD » Thu May 28, 2015 10:00 am

The first thing I do when getting a new card is set up Auto-pay in full on the due date.
I would never consider paying less than the full amount owed or paying anything earlier than the due date.
Being paid (via cash back or rewards) to spend other peoples money, not paying them back until 28 to 58 days later and never paying a dime of interest is the whole idea of responsible credit card usage I thought.
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Thu May 28, 2015 10:19 am

MnD wrote:The first thing I do when getting a new card is set up Auto-pay in full on the due date.
I would never consider paying less than the full amount owed or paying anything earlier than the due date.
Being paid (via cash back or rewards) to spend other peoples money, not paying them back until 28 to 58 days later and never paying a dime of interest is the whole idea of responsible credit card usage I thought.
:thumbsup :thumbsup

Same here, except when I might be running a 0% balance from a place like Best Buy or Home Depot. But, otherwise, all cards are paid off each month.

The technology today provides all kind of help in managing your credit cards. You can set most of them to email for every purchase, remind you when the statement is ready, remind you of an upcoming payment due, verify a payment was made... and so on. Also many companies are offering texts for info concerning card activities, as another option.

Because of the email alerts I receive, I am aware of a problem while the transaction is pending, much of the time.

While all my finances are handled online, I still haven't warmed up to the idea of using the various financial company apps with my smartphone.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Kosmo » Thu May 28, 2015 10:30 am

topos wrote:It makes sense that current balance is the most important number to show for most people. One pay interest on that current balance if not pay in full by due date. There is no interest on (outstanding balance - current balance) (new charge during that period).
Not true. If you do not pay the current balance in full by the due date, interest will start accruing on the total outstanding balance.

I think the method the OP uses to pay off his credit card is partly contributing to the confusion. But this:
k5 wrote:it appears AMEX is instead now prominently showing the CURRENT balance (from reading posts in the thread, I understand this to mean: "charges in this billing period, NOT including the balances on the previous statement").
is exactly backwards. Current balance is the last billing period total minus any payments against that sum. The outstanding balance is the current balance plus any new charges in the current billing period.

The OP means to pay the outstanding balance every 2 weeks. The current balance could be 0 or > 0 depending on how the his pay periods line up with the billing periods. If the current balance is 0, then no payment is required.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Almost there » Thu May 28, 2015 11:22 am

It is confusing to me why the OP pays the bills for AMEX in advance. Like the previous post by Broken Man 1999 states:
The technology today provides all kind of help in managing your credit cards. You can set most of them to email for every purchase, remind you when the statement is ready, remind you of an upcoming payment due, verify a payment was made... and so on. Also many companies are offering texts for info concerning card activities, as another option.
I have also alerts set up to inform me when my credit card is used online. (Great confirmation for me also that my charge went through.) I also know when my monthly statement has been issued. I go online, check the amount and verify the individual purchases against my receipts and then set up payment to AMEX via my bank when the amount is due. Would never think of paying anyone in advance.

In addition, my suggestion is to always use (or have) 2 credit cards. If one is ever lost or is not working, you have another credit card to fall back on.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by jebmke » Thu May 28, 2015 11:35 am

Kosmo wrote: If you do not pay the current balance in full by the due date, interest will start accruing on the total outstanding balance.
My understanding is that the statement balance (not current balance) is due by the due date. The current balance might be higher if charges are posted after the statement date. I may have the terms wrong but I only use the online data to monitor transactions. The statement is the equivalent of an invoice. I pay my bills per invoice.
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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Kosmo » Thu May 28, 2015 12:17 pm

jebmke wrote:
Kosmo wrote: If you do not pay the current balance in full by the due date, interest will start accruing on the total outstanding balance.
My understanding is that the statement balance (not current balance) is due by the due date. The current balance might be higher if charges are posted after the statement date. I may have the terms wrong but I only use the online data to monitor transactions. The statement is the equivalent of an invoice. I pay my bills per invoice.
So the terms actually matter and are a point of confusion. What you're calling the statement balance is what American Express calls the current balance. That is the amount you owe when the billing period closes. Any charges made after that count against your outstanding balance not your current balance. Any payments made offset both balances. What you are calling your current balance is what American Express calls the outstanding balance.

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Thu May 28, 2015 12:41 pm

Why not see how American Express defines current balance and outstanding balance?

From the AE website:

Current Balance:This amount is your Statement Balance adjusted for payments, returned payments and applicable credits and disputes since your most recent statement closing date.

Outstanding Balance:This amount is the total balance on your account including activity since your last statement. Any amounts under dispute have not been deducted from this balance. Activity in the last 24 hours may not be reflected.

On my AE screen there is a small icon that has an "i" in a circle on the right-hand side of the links for "Current Balance" and "Outstanding Balance". If one clicks on that icon, it brings up the definitions posted above. BTW, the same holds true for the your Credit Available amount.

Credit Available:This amount is updated in real time and reflects all account activity, including outstanding authorizations. Since Recent Activity is updated nightly, it may not match this amount.

Very thoughtful of AE to provide such info!

Broken man 1999

Edited to add: Bear in mind that the Current Balance can change from the original amount shown initially. Say I bought two shirts for $10 each using my AE card. I receive my statement which shows $20. And my Current Balance on the website shows $20, as I had no other transactions for the month. Ten days later I return one shirt, receiving a credit on my AE card of $10. As soon as the merchant runs their credit sales to AE, shortly afterward my Current Balance will show $10.00.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

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Re: American Express sneakery

Post by jhfenton » Thu May 28, 2015 12:59 pm

bertilak wrote:
topos wrote:It makes sense that current balance is the most important number to show for most people. One pay interest on that current balance if not pay in full by due date. There is no interest on (outstanding balance - current balance) (new charge during that period).
I do think the OP use the credit card in a way not common to many people. I very rarely find any reason to pay in advance my outstanding balance. But i pay the current balance (last month statement) as soon as i recieve it.
I do not find any problem with AMEX here.
I like to pay in advance. I pay about once a week. This keeps the balance low so when the billing (closing) date comes a lower balance is reported to the credit bureaus. It also evens out the cash flow and discourages me from running up too high a balance on the card.

I know most people don't care too much about the credit bureau aspect, but I got burned by that once not too long ago. My score dropped because I was using too high a percentage of my overall credit limit. I pay almost everything except mortgage and car payment via this one credit card so it gets LOTS of money passing through. Even though it gets paid off every month the credit bureau see it as an outstanding balance owed to the card company. I did two things -- asked for a limit increase and started paying early.

A related "trick" I use: I set up the CC to automatically grab the minimum payment from my bank. It only does this if the minimum hasn't been paid already. A fail-safe mechanism.
This is pretty much exactly what I do. Amex is set to grab the minimum payment if I go into a coma and don't make any payments. Otherwise, I typically make 3 payments per month. We run most of our expenses through the card, and I don't like the balance to accumulate too much.

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