General Question

babygalll's avatar

Finance Charge on a ZERO balance card.

Asked by babygalll (2768points) July 8th, 2008

I got an email stating I owe a finance charge. I logged into my account and all what it shows is the amount and finance charge in the description. How could a bank charge a finance charge on a credit card that has a ZERO balance? I haven’t used this card since March and it has been paid in full with a ZERO balance. I even verified it with them before leaving the bank and they said I didn’t own anything. How could they charge me a finance charge on nothing? I plan on calling them tomorrow. Has this happened to anyone. Why do they do that?

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9 Answers

whatthefluther's avatar

I’d have to revisit the fine print (which I don’t have the time or inclination to do at this time) but I believe Finance charges are based on an average daily balance over some period of time. In your case, that period of time must go as far back as March when you did have a balance. You’ll have to check the fine print for your particular cc.

Lightlyseared's avatar

some credit cards charge you just for having the card.

jballou's avatar

It could be any number of things, it’s happened to me plenty of times. There’s no real way to answer your question without more information.

My guess would be that most cards have a grace period when you can pay back without getting hit with finance charges. So a purchase for one month can fall within the grace period for that month and you won’t receive a finance charge on that particular balance.

However, if you pay your card down to a zero balance before the finance charge for that purchase is calculated you will still get hit (because you missed the grace period) even though you technically have a zero balance.

Trimpot's avatar

I agree with these folks. Other possibility: identity thieves who payoff your card after they use it.

thekingfamily's avatar

Go to the state website where you live, and file a complaint with the Attorney General. I had a $0 balance and Chase added finance charges to $0. The Attorney General reviewed the problem and after a month the charges were taken off. Again, this October 2009, Chase had decided again to do the same thing, I contacted them to take the charges off, they made up some mumbo jumbo that didn’t even make any sense, just double talk with their own terminology that only they understand, refused to take off the charges. I noted and printed everything they said, who I talked to and copied my proof of 0 balance and the date they put the bogus finance charges on and sent everything to the Attorney General. They will take care of it. Chase can only get away with these fraudlant business practices for so long , I have dedicated alot of my time to typing my story on EVERY site I can. To contact the Attorney General in Michigan go to:
I will tell everyone & anyone that I possibly can about Chases fraudlant finance charges, the more people complain, talk about it, blog about it, file letters of complaints, and everything else they can do, is the only way something can get done. But first file your complaint with the Attorney General. Also, consumer affairs is quite interested in this as well. I filed a complaint with them, they have a whole section dedicated to Chase and their business pracitices.

thekingfamily's avatar

Oh, and Chases “fine print” is most generally found to be double talk, open ended, and deceiving, so don’t worry about it, the Attorney General knows exactly how to handle them. Chase’s business practices have been in question for a long time, there was already a class action lawsuit, and the way things are going, there will be another one.

thekingfamily's avatar

February 4, 2009


• Chase Bank
• Chase Auto
• Chase Mortgage
• Chase Credit Cards
• Bank of America, Chase Rush to Cut Fees as Congress Gets Restless
• Chase Continues To Tighten Consumer Credit
• Latest Chase Controversy Part of a Pattern
• Chase Raises Minimum Payments On Credit Cards
• Chase to Refund $4.4 Million in Credit Card Fees
• Class Action Filed Over Chase Credit Card Fees
• Chase to Stop Raising Interest Rates Based On Credit Reports
• YouTube Video Purports To Show Discarded Bank Documents
• Chase Trashes Tapes Containing Circuit City Customers’ Data
• Chase Warns of Online Survey Scam
• California Sues Chase, Trilegiant

A class action filed in January alleges that Chase is forcing its customers to pay a “monthly service fee” and an increased monthly payment, without advance notification.

The suit concerns Chase’s “Balance Transfer Checks,” a tool that allows consumers to transfer outstanding balances to their Chase credit cards. The suit alleges that, under the balance transfer program, Chase promised a low annual percentage rate (APR) — typically between 2.99% and 4.99% — not subject to change for the life of the balance.

Beginning in January, however, Chase began slapping a $10 monthly “service fee” onto customers’ bills. Consumers who refused to pay found their APR raised, sometimes to as high as 7.99%. Moreover, Chase asserts the right to again unilaterally raise the rate again after a year.

According to the suit, filed in federal court in California, neither the possibility of a monthly fee nor an arbitrary APR increase was mentioned in the cardholder agreement that customers signed when they first received the card. Although the agreement provides for APR increases in certain circumstances — for example, if the customer misses a payment or fails to maintain a certain balance — members of the class had their rates raised despite having met all of their obligations.

The suit further claims that customers who call Chase to inquire about the fee are given no information whatsoever, either as to the purpose of the charge or how it is calculated. The only way for customers to avoid paying the charge is to agree to the APR increase.

The practice is especially damaging to consumers given the nature of the balance transfer program, which is aimed at those who are struggling to pay existing balances on other credit cards, usually at a higher interest rate than that promised by Chase. As described on Chase’s website, balance transfer cards are “a great way to simplify your finances. Plus, you can often save money on interest charges if you carry a large balance on a credit card with a higher rate.”

Many affected consumers are finding themselves right back where they started when they signed up, or worse. Calvin G. of Brookings, SD says: “I was finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but it just got a little darker again. I find this practice of theirs a total sham, especially to card members who are in good standing. Told the customer rep that I guess they can pretty much do whatever they want and she had no response.”

The lawsuit alleges several counts, including violations of the Truth in Lending Act, which requires lenders to clearly spell out terms and conditions in the initial agreement; breach of contract; and unfair competition.

Read more:

shirleylopez's avatar

When this happened to me, the reason was a mistake because the billing was computer generated. After I talked with a representative and showed my previous billings and receipts, they made corrections on my next billing without me paying the extra charges.

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