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My husband and I use two main credit cards to pay for everything that we can, and then we pay off the balances every month.  The Discover More card gives us 5% cash back on rotating categories and the PenFed Visa gives us 5% cash back on gasoline.  I check the monthly statements between the 14th and 17th of every month when I type every expense into our budget spreadsheet, and then I pay off the balances even if they aren’t due for another 3 weeks.  I was recently reminded of what a good idea it is to check your credit card statement before paying the bill.

Our Info was Stolen

Two months ago, someone stole our credit card information somehow and bought something that cost $499.  They used our Discover Card info through Paypal, so it took 2 calls for me to figure out what happened.  The first was to my husband to find out what he bought that was $500.  He verified that he didn’t buy anything that expensive.  I then called Paypal and found out that someone ordered a $499 fishing pole from Trinidad through my husband’s Paypal account. 

Handling the Charge

I then asked them to freeze our account and look into the issue, but when they said that it could take up to 6 weeks for their investigation, I thanked them and called Discover instead.  Their representative immediately froze our account, let me know which monthly payments seemed to be auto-billed so I could call and have them moved to our other credit card, and issued us new cards for a new account that arrived 3 days later.  Within 3 weeks, our new account showed that the issue had been resolved and we were never on the hook for any of the $499.  I opened my account with Discover when I was 19 years old and have been impressed ever since.

Changing our Auto-Pays

The biggest hassle was changing all of our utilities and subscriptions to be auto-charged to the Visa.  A few companies let me change my card info online, lost my change, tried to charge my old Discover anyway, and then sent me a notice that my account hadn’t been paid.  I was very glad I printed confirmations of my changes and could prove that I owed no late fees and they screwed up.  But other than a few annoying situations like that, the issue was wrapped up pretty quickly.

Check your Credit Card Statements Before you Pay

This did reinforce the idea that I need to check every, single credit card charge every month though.  If I hadn’t, I would have paid for someone else’s $499 fishing pole.  You’d think I’d have noticed that much extra on our bill, but it was during the same month we had vacation charges and some pet bills, so the overall bill actually didn’t seem to be so bad.  It was even better when I found out I didn’t need to pay for $500 of it, lol.

Do you check your credit card statements every month?