Oops – Stupid Credit Card Error

Nov 21, 2006 @ 11:46 am by EMS

Like many people, I pay most of my bills through my bank’s online portal. Their web interface is decent, I usually have no problems with it. However, yesterday I found out that I made an error that’s going to end up costing me a few bucks.

I have two credit cards that I generally use – one solely for gas purchases because it gives me a 3% rebate, and the other is for pretty much all other purchases. They are both issued by Chase and when I go to my bank’s Bill Pay page, it lists both cards as “Visa Credit Card”. I have to pay close attention to which credit card I’m paying by knowing the last 4 digits of the cards and comparing that to what shows up when I’m paying the bill.

Well, apparently I wasn’t paying too much attention paying bills last month because I ended up paying the balance of my gas card ($360) to my other credit card (which had about a $1200 balance)! Fortunately, I my gas card setup to automatically pull the minimum payment required from my checking just for cases like this, so I won’t end up with a late payment fee. Once I saw what happened, I went in and scheduled a full payment to the gas card. However, I’m sure I’ll end up paying a bit of interest when my next statement comes around.

I suppose I could call Chase and explain what happened.  They might reduce or remove any interest charges based upon my customer record, however I do feel that since it was clearly my error, I don’t have the right to ask them to bend the rules for me.

Prosper – How’s it Working for You?

Nov 16, 2006 @ 08:37 am by EMS

There has been a lot of chatter lately about how Prosper has gone downhill the past two months. Over at Personal Finance Journey, the latest post is about how he is glad that he stopped cash flow into Prosper when he did (2 months ago). Yet if you head over to Eric’s Credit Community and check out some of the profiles there, you’ll see some pretty impressive numbers (high rates plus low defaults). For example, BigGulp’s profile shows a ton of high risk loans at high rates and relatively few defaults. For me personally, other than the one late payment (which has paid up), I’ve had no defaults on the 19 loans that I’ve funded and I’m getting about a 14% return.

So, with that being said, be careful when investing in Prosper. Use tools like Eric’s Credit Community (listed above) and the Prosper Message Board to help. One of my favorite strategy’s is to find someone who has been successful and then piggyback onto loans that they have funded (after I evaluate it myself, of course).

I’m currently pretty happy with the amount I have invested in Prosper and will probably refrain from investing much more (other than enough to keep cash from sitting in the account interest free). Maybe after a few months and a few other priorities have settled, I’ll pump more in, but for now I’m going to stay in a holding pattern.

Personal Finance Podcast

Nov 15, 2006 @ 01:04 pm by EMS

I ran across a pretty good personal finance podcast from Perdue University a few weeks ago. Subscribe to it here. The professor (not sure of his name) is currently covering the retirement system here in America and is a pretty good place to start if you are looking for some basic info.

I found the podcast from Productive Strategies’s list of free academic podcasts.

Get Out There and Vote Today!

Nov 07, 2006 @ 08:30 am by EMS

Like it or not, politics play a huge role in you and your families financial decisions.  It drives me nuts when folks start complaining about our politicians and then I ask them a question about voting in which I get a blank stare in response.  If you don’t vote, you lose your right to complain in my book.

October 2006 Net Worth Report (+$5,278)

Nov 01, 2006 @ 10:37 am by EMS

With some pretty significant gains in my Roth IRA account (NFLX, GOOG, and CELG), we were able to increase our net worth by $5,278 this month. The number kind of surprised me because it was a bit higher than I anticipated. I think that my 401(k) account may have been understated last month by a bit which may account for a larger gain this month than will be typical.

All in all, I’m very happy with this number considering we had some extraordinary expenses this month due to Christmas gifts and a lot of traveling. I’m still seeing higher credit card balances than I like to see (I pay them off in full each month), but I expect that to end starting in December once we get out of the holiday season.

In other news, I’m planning on stopping all discretionary spending until we find the results of next week’s election. My job has somewhat of a political aspect to it and if a certain candidate isn’t reelected, the entire project I work on may be at risk. Should that happen, my wife and I have a “backup” plan that we’ll put into full effect.

October 2006 Net Worth

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