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I recently went over the $6500 threshold on a new reward year on my OBC card.  My current balance is over $6K, but it's from very recent spending, all in the current billing cycle.  None of the charges have shown up on a statement yet.  I'm still at less than 50% utilization.  When I log in at americanexpress.com it tells me no payment is due at this time.  However, since I have an outstanding balance, I wanted to pay down some of it before the billing period closes, so I sent a $4000 payment from a bank that I've used to pay this Amex several times before using the bank's online bill pay.  The payment was returned by Amex to my bank.

The only reason I can think of why this would happen is if the charges were still pending and hadn't posted yet and Amex detected that my payment was significantly more than my balance.  However, all the recent charges had posted as of yesterday, and the bank notification explicitly states the payment was returned TODAY.  I know it's still early.  It also said if I need more information, I should contact the payee.  The bank hasn't credited the funds to my checking account yet, but I expect that should happen tomorrow.  My problem is not with the bank, and based on the wording of the bank's notification e-mail, I doubt they can tell my why Amex did this.

I've never had a payment returned like this before.  I wasn't even planning on hitting the OBC hard for MS until later in the fall.  I just went on a "mini" spending spree of around $8500 recently so I could get into the 5% categories on my natural spend on groceries and gas for the next ~11 months.  The bulk of that $8500 was at a large chain drugstore, but some of it was natural spending.

Should I contact anyone, and if so, what should I ask?  Should I simply try to make the payment again?  If so, should I do it electronically again, or should I send a check?  How long should I wait?  Obviously I haven't tried to use the OBC to make a purchase in the few minutes since I read the bank's e-mail notification, but everything looks normal when I log in at americanexpress.com.  I don't think there's any hold on the account.

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Yes, you should contact someone if you want to know why Amex returned your electronic payment to your bank. Contact Amex, using a telephone and the number on the back of your card. Ask them why your electronic payment to Amex was returned to your bank.

-FWF help desk

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Not trying to insult your competency, but the obvious possibility is that the account number was incorrect.  Has your card number changed, or do you have multiple Amex payees where you selected an old one with a now-closed account number?

Call your bank and find out the noted reason why it was returned; it'll be vague, but give you an idea.  Calling Amex will be tough to get anywhere, since a payment has to post for most people to even be able to see it.

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This is the only Amex account I've ever had and the number has never changed in almost 10 years. The account number is actually kind of distinctive in a way that makes it easy to remember, and it has been that way from the very beginning. I've made multiple past payments from this specific checking account to this specific Amex card. The checking account has been open approximately 2.5 years and I've been using it to pay this Amex card for about a year.

To ask a more explicit question, let's assume that all charges had posted by the time Amex received the payment and there was no discrepancy leading Amex to believe the payment was significantly larger than my outstanding balance. Based on that information, what is the probability that a computer algorithm is responsible for this and no human eyes have looked at my Amex account as of yet? I'm hesitant to call Amex because if no human eyes have seen it yet, I don't want to prompt them to look.

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Since you payment was less than your current balance, I can't think of why they would return it. Maybe a technical glitch or something? Maybe try again or try setting it up from the Amex account?

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Google search pulls up a bunch of FT threads talking about people who did pulls from the Amex account and didn't have sufficient funds to cover the pull due to their own errors. I only found one discussion of someone who did a push from Discover Bank to Amex and had a problem. It was only for $125 and in that case, Discover wasn't showing any record of the payment being returned. To the contrary, in my case, the only evidence I have that anything is wrong came from my bank where I initiated the push. If not for this e-mail and secure message from my bank, I wouldn't think anything was unusual, since the payment probably wouldn't have posted until tomorrow anyway.

Hopefully it was a technical glitch between the two systems as you say and not related to MS'ing. Or maybe the payment itself is going to post properly, and I was sent the secure message from my bank due to an error on the bank's end, having nothing to do with Amex. That would be the best possible scenario I suppose.

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DTASFAB said:   However, all the recent charges had posted as of yesterday, and the bank notification explicitly states the payment was returned TODAY.  I know it's still early. 
 

  
DTASFAB said:   ... the only evidence I have that anything is wrong came from my bank where I initiated the push. If not for this e-mail and secure message from my bank, I wouldn't think anything was unusual, since the payment probably wouldn't have posted until tomorrow anyway.
 

  This could be a simple timing issue. AM3X tried to apply the payment by close of business yesterday. It is possible payments are posted first and then charges. At the time of payment posting, the payment was in excess of outstanding balance and hence returned by AM3X. Your bank received the (returned) payment this morning and informed you.

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fwuser12 said:   
DTASFAB said:   However, all the recent charges had posted as of yesterday, and the bank notification explicitly states the payment was returned TODAY.  I know it's still early. 
  
DTASFAB said:   ... the only evidence I have that anything is wrong came from my bank where I initiated the push. If not for this e-mail and secure message from my bank, I wouldn't think anything was unusual, since the payment probably wouldn't have posted until tomorrow anyway.
  This could be a simple timing issue. AM3X tried to apply the payment by close of business yesterday. It is possible payments are posted first and then charges. At the time of payment posting, the payment was in excess of outstanding balance and hence returned by AM3X. Your bank received the (returned) payment this morning and informed you.

  Amex has never rejected a payment pushed to them because of your balance (at least for me). I know this because at least once each year I pay the wrong card (mine instead of my wife's, or vice versa).

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DTASFAB said:   To ask a more explicit question, let's assume that all charges had posted by the time Amex received the payment and there was no discrepancy leading Amex to believe the payment was significantly larger than my outstanding balance. Based on that information, what is the probability that a computer algorithm is responsible for this and no human eyes have looked at my Amex account as of yet? I'm hesitant to call Amex because if no human eyes have seen it yet, I don't want to prompt them to look.
 

  IMO, there is a very high probability this return of payment was automatic (i.e., a computer algorithm).
If you are concerned about a human eyes taking a look into your account activities and there is no other compelling reason, just wait for the statement to close and schedule a payment for the balance (perhaps a pull from AM3X).

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Amex does not normally allow payments to be made for charges until the billing cycle closes: Amex will NOT allow you to make a payment for such charges on its own web site, and the one time I tried to use bill pay to get around that Amex payment was returned.

Looks like this is SOP for Amex.


 

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stanolshefski said:   Amex has never rejected a payment pushed to them because of your balance (at least for me). I know this because at least once each year I pay the wrong card (mine instead of my wife's, or vice versa).
 

  What is the typical amount for these "over payment".
Return of payment may not be for a single reason but due to a combination of factors; OP's supposed over payment was ~4k.

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Same thing here today. Amex had no record of payment. Bank rep said it was "a mistake." Coincidence? Maybe, but more likely a system error.

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ananthar said:   Amex does not normally allow payments to be made for charges until the billing cycle closes: Amex will NOT allow you to make a payment for such charges on its own web site,
  
I have a $0 statement balance and the Amex website just let me schedule a payment for my entire outstanding balance (charges which were made after the statement closed).

Maybe it's different for charge cards?
fwuser12 said:   
stanolshefski said:   Amex has never rejected a payment pushed to them because of your balance (at least for me). I know this because at least once each year I pay the wrong card (mine instead of my wife's, or vice versa).
  What is the typical amount for these "over payment".
Return of payment may not be for a single reason but due to a combination of factors; OP's supposed over payment was ~4k.

  
I wouldn't consider OP's action an "overpayment"; to me that suggests that OP would have a credit balance. He was simply paying an outstanding balance before the statement had closed.

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Got an e-mail at 1:03PM eastern time from bank.

THANKS Chase!  For nothing.  

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JW10 said:   You are not alone.
See also
https://www.reddit.com/r/churning/comments/6wqi21/daily_discussion_thread_august_29_2017/dma2o0g/

 The link suggests this is an issue with Chase billpay (involving multiple payees). OP didn't mention his bank; if it was Chase, OP's issue is probably with Chase and not AM3X.

If it was last Tuesday, we could have blamed it on the after effects of an eclipse
ETA: Just saw OP confirm it was Chase. Suspect apprehended

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Precisely why I didn't want to poke any bears by calling Amex prematurely. I'm not a big time MS'er compared to some others, but probably 80-90% of my churning is on the one and only card I've ever had issued to me by Amex, and it's (sort of) a grandfathered product that I don't want to lose. This account has always been in good standing, and other than possible AA due to too much MS'ing, they'd have no reason to interfere with my activities.

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I got message from Chase this morning stating my payment to Nicor (gas company) was returned. Message in afternoon explained the original message was sent in error.

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fwuser12 said:   
stanolshefski said:   Amex has never rejected a payment pushed to them because of your balance (at least for me). I know this because at least once each year I pay the wrong card (mine instead of my wife's, or vice versa).
  What is the typical amount for these "over payment".
Return of payment may not be for a single reason but due to a combination of factors; OP's supposed over payment was ~4k.

  The one last week was $690. One a few months ago was $1,400+.

rated:
Payment posted today, no issues on Amex end. It was all Chase's fault, and not with the payment process, but merely with the false notification.

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