Don’t panic if you accidentally overpay a bill online

Dec 4, 2012, 1:21 p.m.
What to do if you accidentally overpay a bill online.

If you prefer making online bill payments, chances are you have decided that by doing that, you can save money online, because you do not have to go to the post office, run the car, buy stamps, or go to a store in person. Online bill payments are extremely convenient, as long as everything goes smoothly. You can make your payment from your easy chair, get automatic deductions from your bank account, and save a lot of time.

Occasionally, however, mistakes can be made with a quick but incorrect keystroke. For example, if you are scheduling a one-time payment and accidently hit the button that says the payment should be recurring, when the next month rolls around, a payment will be taken from your bank account, whether or not you actually wanted it done that way.

Paying online can lead to other simple mistakes, such as a transposing of keystrokes. You might intend to pay $10.00 and accidentally enter an extra zero, making that amount $100.00. If you don't catch it right away, that could present a financial dilemma if you do not have extra in your bank account to cover the overpayment.

Mistakes are easy; correcting mistakes are more difficult. If you accidentally overpay a bill online there are several things you can try to fix that error.

Go into the account and double check the withdrawal date, and if there is still time, you may be able to edit the payment details. You can change a date or amount, provided the transaction has not already occurred.

If you are too late to make a correction online, you should contact the account lender directly by telephone immediately and ask them how they prefer you to solve the problem.

If all else fails, contact your banking institution and have a stop payment put onto that transaction. You might have to discontinue your previous approval for online ACH withdrawals. This may also cause you to incur a penalty for late payment if you cannot also make the correct payment in time, online, over the telephone or in person.

There are good reasons for getting overpayments stopped. You do not want a credit record ding for a late payment or refusal by the bank, and you do not want additional penalties from your lender or bank applied. Some credit accounts switch to a higher interest rate if you have a late payment. Do your best to make a proper payment in a timely manner. Keep a calendar and take notes, always.

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