Tuesday, July 26, 2011

So where did the payment go?

Ok, let me try and communicate what I learned today without getting into the realm of tooooo technical.

In the search for our lost money, I learned that our brokerage where I use their bill paying service has two ways of paying a billing.  The oldest form from years ago was to issue a paper check and mail it for me to my vendor.  But in more recent years, they do an electronic funds transfer to vendors that will accept such payments.   The vendor has to be set up for these electronic payments though.

The system is set up to automatically check the vendors that are entered and convert them to the electronic funds transfer (EFT) where ever possible.  And today, I learned that I can actually browse the list of folks that are able to take these payments looking for my vendor, and set things up that way from the start.

So what happened to my credit card payment, was that it was set up many years ago before they did EFTs and because I didn't enter the name just exactly like the company was listed on the EFT list, it never got converted.  This means they were sent a paper check in the USPS ground mail.  That payment never arrived at the CC company.

Or if it arrived, it was never credited to my account, and has not been returned to the brokerage company.  The check is still outstanding.  So I will do a stop payment on it and that will be that!  We will never know where it might be hiding.......

Today I did search the EFT listing and found the official name for my card company. So I  set up a new vendor.  Then I ordered a payment with this new listing and the correct account number.  Now we need to see if that payment gets there.

The brokerage people explained that many banks or other financial institutions will only do payments when they can EFT.  They simply do not offer the paper check service to random ma and pa vendors.  So they are offering a service that I should be happy to have, even if there are occasional lost items in the mail and we have to do stop payments.

So did the brokerage actually print and mail the check, or did the post office sweep it into the dead letter bin, or did the credit card company fail to cash the check and credit my account?  My guess, is that we will never find out!!

But I learned a lot about all of this, and it will only cost me late fees and interest at the credit company to experience this lesson.......  About $50 as I calculate it.......

Retired Rod


  1. The gremlins got it! Several years ago when we were building this house we mailed a $6000 check to our local building supply company--they never got that check and we never found it--the gremlins got it.

  2. I knew about these brokerage services but I just pay my accounts directly and so far no problems. Keeping my fingers crossed, of course. Sent our son a check for his birthday - didn't show up. Sent another one - it didn't show up. The third one finally made it to him. So our checks must be having fun with your payment somewhere in who knows where.


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