Now that you’re all comfy, cozy and settled into writing “2011” on everything, the time has come to do some financial maintenance. Do me (and yourself) a HUGE favor and grab your wallet or purse real quick. Pull out any of your debit or credit cards. Now – here’s the doozy – look at WHEN they expire. If it’s in 2011, you need to start racking your brain on which automatic payments are set up to be taken from that card.
Let’s face it – we do more and more through online services, so it’s extremely important to keep close tabs on what card is associated to which of these online accounts. Our fraud specialist Liz suggests using one specified credit card for ALL online purchase.
I know what you’re thinking. “Tara, when they send me a new card, it has the SAME numbers on it so I don’t need to worry about anything!” Au contraire, my friend! Yes, most companies do automatically send you a new card with the SAME number on it, however, the expiration date will be different! When you enter in your credit card info into any kind of payment on the internet, entering the expiration date is one of the key components. The bottom line is that if you don’t update the expiration date, your payment will not go through properly. You may even get late charges if you don’t catch it quickly enough! And no one wants that to happen!
Look at each card and ask yourself:
- Do I use this card to pay any bills?
- Is this card number stored any automatic payment websites? Such as PayPal. Don’t forget about things you may use the card for such as paying your cell phone bill, NetFlix, an online shopping store, etc.
Here’s a real life example for you: I like to use one card in particular to pay for my Red Box movies. The card number is stored within the secure Red Box website. All I have to do is go online, log into my account, select my movie at whatever Red Box location I’m heading to, select my stored card and then BINGO! It’s reserved for me. When my expiration date arrives, I’m going to need to update the card before I buy another Red Box movie online or else my card simply will not go through and – POOF! – my movie will be gone. (If you haven’t used this online reservation method yet, I HIGHLY recommend you give it a try. Nothing is worse than standing in a long line at the store waiting for those before you to choose a movie. Inevitably, you get stuck behind the person who obviously has never used the machine before. And then by the time you finally get to the front of the line, they are out of the movie you had your heart set on. This method saves you time and frustration!)
Have you given all your cards a good once over? Great! (P.S. Take a peek at your driver’s license expiration date while you’re in there.)
Tell us in the comments below, what others sorts of financial maintenance are you going to need to do in 2011?