Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Replacing an Auto-Pay Credit Card

With the ongoing hacks into Sony and the recent employee security breach at Bank of America, you are more and more likely to have to replace a credit card.

When that credit card happens to be the credit card you use for auto-pay accounts (or automatic payments), it's a hassle. Prepare for a few hours of contacting merchants whom you auto-pay. If you're systematic in updating your auto-pay accounts with your new credit card information, you'll save time.

Here's a checklist for updating all your automatic payment accounts:

  • First, replace the compromised or lost credit card. Ask the credit card company to expedite a new card.
  • You can wait for your auto-pay accounts to fail and contact you, but it's better to contact your auto-pay accounts and provide your new credit card information.
  • Make a list of your auto-pays. Auto-pay accounts fall into three categories: 1) automatic monthly payments or automatic annual payments like rent, insurance, or memberships, 2) auto-pay accounts on websites like Amazon or Google that keep your credit card information to speed transactions, and 3) auto-pay for smartcard replenishment for services like transit and toll cards.
  • For your regular automatic monthly payments, scan recent credit card statements and you'll find those merchants quickly. Note website or phone information on your statement.
  • For other auto-pay accounts, check your email. If you keep online receipts, you can search for terms like "payment" or "credit card" and skim through the results.
  • Look through your wallet. If you have insurance cards or transit cards, those accounts may be tied to an auto-pay.
  • Once you have a list of all your auto-pay accounts, find any missing contact information. Again, email records are your friend. If you search for the merchant name, email from the merchant usually contains URL links and contact phone numbers.
  • Last, contact every merchant on your list and provide your new credit card information.
I made this list recently, and now I maintain it in a spreadsheet. I assume the frequency of credit card replacement is more likely to increase, so I'm ready the next time I have to replace my auto-pay credit card. Also, you can count on contacting your automatic payment accounts when your credit cards expires. Plan ahead!

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