Protect Credit Card Automatic Payments

Have you heard this story? A woman at the register, swipes her credit/debit card to purchase groceries and the card was declined. She knows she has money in the account and is now thoroughly embarrassed. She races to her car to call the card issuer, only to be informed that her credit/debit card was compromised at a major retailer and she will be issued a new card.

Her initial thoughts are #1 she has to wait for the new card to arrive and #2 has the card been used for a shopping spree by someone else. She knows she needs to pull her credit report and notify the credit bureaus of anything suspicious. She has yet to realize her auto insurance is automatically paid monthly with the compromised card. A month later she receives a cancellation notice for non-payment.

The credit card breach was beyond her control but she could have prevented the cancellation notice and any other late fees by being pro-active and having a plan in place.

What should you do?

  1. Make note of how each of your accounts are paid. Set up an Excel Spreadsheet or use an Accounting Software to keep track of your payment sources. This way you can quickly contact the company to change the payment method.
  2. Read all correspondence from your card issuers. You may have to weed through the offers and sales flyers but there could be valuable information about your account.
  3. If email is your communication of choice, create a separate email account for just your bills, finances, etc.
  4. Review your emails and spreadsheet frequently to ensure you have not missed something important.
  5. Keep your spreadsheet or software updated with any new information, card change, billing address, payment address or similar.
  6. Check to see if your creditors offer a secondary payment option. Having a backup credit card in their system can prevent a lapse of coverage or service. Just be sure to pay attention to your monthly statements and record your finances accordingly.

By taking the time to have a pulse on your financial situation allows a quicker and easier resolution to unexpected hiccups.

Retailers and Hotels that have had their data compromised:

Target Sally Beauty Neiman Marcus Michaels

Managed by White Lodging Services Corp.Full story on Reuters
Starwood Hotels ad Resorts
Marriott International
Intercontinental Hotels Group