When I noticed three consecutive late payment fees on my NatWest credit card recently, despite having made my payments on time, I phoned up to find out more…
The explanation? My online, telephone, app and text alerts were all failing to give me the full picture of my credit card account.
Truth be told, I hadn’t noticed that I had incurred a £12 late payment fee on my credit card account in May and June – it’s not a card I use very much.
However, this month I knew I had paid enough to cover the minimum payment on the day it was due, as I responded to a monthly text reminder I have set up. So I was surprised to see another £12 charge added on to my account a few days later.
When I looked back at my statements I had, in fact, received late payment fees for the past three months, despite having made my payments on time. I checked my text alerts and in each instance the amount I had paid was enough to cover the minimum payment.
Credit card fees
I phoned NatWest to ask them for an explanation and they told me that following a payment I’d missed in April, I was about £15 in arrears and this had been added on to my due amount each month – so my minimum payments hadn’t been enough to cover it – hence the late payment fees.
But why wasn’t this showing up on my text reminders? NatWest explained that unfortunately its text alert system only links up to the ‘general’ online banking system – which only gives a snapshot of your credit card details and therefore it wasn’t including my outstanding arrears.
They suggested I should sign in to the specific credit card section of the website to see the full amount I owed, and sure enough, the full amount I owe for next month is showing up there – £15 more than my ‘minimum payment’ according to the texts they sent me.
Credit card confusion
NatWest agreed to refund me the last three payments, but I think it’s wrong that I didn’t get the right information, and I’m yet to find out if the ‘missed’ payments will affect my credit score.
It’s clear that NatWest uses different systems for its credit card services and its other online and telephone banking services, but should you have to be aware of that distinction? My online banking app, the online banking section of their website and their automated phone service all gave me an ‘owed’ amount which did not include the arrears.
Have you had a similar experience to me?