Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wall Street Meets Main Street

I'm currently in the process of buying a house, and I happen to know I have great credit and a spotless credit record. (Quick hit: for a government guaranteed credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com. Don't be scammed by pirate-suited waiter schilling for freecreditreport.com.)

And yet, despite my ability to pay all my bills on time (even through most of 2008 when I didn't have a job and didn't collect unemployment), I am still very suspect to Wall Street. Why? Because the big banking firms made some stupid mistakes betting on the housing bubble and bad mortgages. All of this means that even if I pay a bill on time for more than the minimum, on the day that the bill is due, I get a call asking me to make a payment by phone on that bill.

Really?

The bank in question is GE Moneybank, the backer of my Banana Republic card. I carry a small balance on it, and don't use it that frequently, and I've never not paid the bill. My bill was due today for a minimum payment of $23, and I had already scheduled that bill to be paid, the second I got my statement, from my online banking account. I sent them $75, and I checked this morning, and the check cleared. So GE Moneybank got their money probably at 8:00 am this morning. And yet, when I got home, I got a call from them.

"We just want to know if you're having trouble making this payment, and we'd like you to pay this bill by debit card over the phone."

Really?

This payment isn't late. I have NEVER been late with a payment. And yet, the very day it's due, I get a call. And when I told the woman on the phone that the payment was made and it cleared, she still treated me like a deadbeat, saying that she'd have to make a notation on the account, that probably the system wouldn't register the electronic payment until tomorrow.

GE Moneybank is so hard up that they couldn't wait 24 hours for their system to catch up?

I have considered getting rid of this card before, because I don't shop at Banana Republic as much as I used to. And I don't really need another credit card. In fact, the thing that's really stopping me here is that if I close the account, it takes down my credit score for six months, and I don't want to jeopardize my mortgage application in any way.

Why is it, that someone who works hard and takes care of her bills like me gets a phone call like this? Because we live in a recession created by Wall Street. I am furious that the heads of Goldman Sachs are collecting bonuses still and I with my lower middle class lifestyle have to justify my bill payments over the phone to someone probably not paid enough by yet another big conglomerate.

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