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Recently, a few issuers charged me late fees when I paid less than minimum due. I reduced my payments by the total of merchant returns which posted as statement credits during the current cycle. In the past, such returns always counted towards minimum due and when they exceeded it, there was no payment required at all. However, in the past few months, Chase and Citi charged me fees and interest for paying less than minimum due. BofA and Sallie Mae did not. Citi reversed their fees upon request. Chase reversed them the first time, but refused to do so subsequently.

Was there a resent change that impacted these calculations?

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My experience has been that AMEX reduces the minimum payment due by the credits posted to the account by the payment due date. All the other issuers that I have cards with do not do that.

I'm not sure whether AMEX would charge interest if you attempted to float a balance by manipulating transactions though.

Also have to be careful with credits posted from rewards. I was charged interest on an account because I thought that the reedemed credit counted to pay the previous month's full balance.

I'm kind of amazed that you'd have so many returns/credits to generate a dataset. In any event I would never have imagined returns would count towards the minimum payment. In my mind the minimum due is a percentage of the outstanding balance, and while returns would factor into the overall balance I would not have thought they would ever count as a direct credit against the minimum payment due.

If that was the case, you could go for a very long time without having to make ANY payment by strategically doing purchase/returns to offset the minimum payment due. And I would be surprised if any issuer would go for that even if interest is accruing.

Several of my credit cards allow this, but I don't really care. If it's a 0% card and I want to make my minimum payment, I don't try to second guess what the absolute minimum amount is. I simply log into the website, and whatever it says is the minimum due, that's what I pay. If it takes into account returns, fine. If not, I'm not gonna push my luck.

You're paying 0% interest on this card, I hope?

I had a purchase on the Sovereign Bank Sphere card which is administered by FIA. The return came through after the statement closed and when it did the minimum payment due was reduced to zero on their website. Just to be sure I telephoned and they assured me that no payment was due. I would guess this to be the case for all FIA issued cards.

EugeneV said:   Was there a resent change that impacted these calculations?There were three recent changes:
1. Card Act of 2009
2. Profits squeezed by above and other regulatory changes
3. Recognition that people (I'm guessing OP, are gaming the system)

Gaming it how?, you might say. Buying and returning an item specifically with the intention of reducing or eliminating the minimum payment. My guess is that is why the OP has such a large dataset.

So the companies now do one of the following for applying refund credits to minimum payments:
1. Apply no refund credits to the minimum payment. (emerging majority)
2. Apply refund credits only for purchases posted in the previous statement, to the minimum payment.
3. Apply refund credits only for purchases posted in the previous statement, to a revised balance and calculate a revised minimum payment.
1. Apply all refund credits to the minimum payment (going the way of the dinosaur)

If you think about it, item 3 is the correct way to apply return credits. Anyway, these changes to terms have been cropping up over the last couple of years. If you choose to not read those little inserts, that is your problem. The only safe way to pay less than the minimum payment from the statement, is if the company modifies the minimum payment online. I know for a fact AMEX does this, and I think they use option 3.

No, I am not trying to game the system. I have a few cards with 0% APR on purchases, which are naturally used for purchases of all kinds, with occasional returns. I am trying not to pay more than min due. Sometimes this min due amount shown on the website is automatically reduced by returns and sometimes it isn't, in which case, still, some issuers will count returns toward min payment and some will not.

I had a funny situation with Citi: made a single purchase, was billed for it, and then received a credit for returning the item. I did not make a payment; their site wouldn't let me even if I wanted to. Yet, they charged me penalty and interest for not paying minimum due and I had to call them to have it reversed.

Just have them automatically withdraw the minimum payment from your account. If they are supposed to adjust, they will adjust. I do this with Chase and have them withdraw full payment. When I have a return, they apply it as part of the payment. All this happens while I am sleeping away - I don't have to do anything, I don't have to worry about late fees, nada. Personally, enjoy your life instead of worrying about the nickel and dime stuff.

Kind of ironic - just today I threw away a flyer: "My reason for saving to feel confident in what lies ahead. High-yield Savings account - 0.75% APY". Right on - as if I will give money to some moronic bank for 0.75% interest. Is this what you are trying to do - keep the minimum payment low so that you can invest your money in a 0.75% account? Save enough money so that $2K/$5K is pocket change - let the banks play with your 5K float while you invest the rest of your mega money wisely at much better returns - spending time to research better investments is time well spent versus fighting with the bank on late fees.



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