Question about payments--Please KISS it


#1

I am thinking of coming into the current century but I truly am ignorant about really basic things (I have a dumb phone, don’t know how to text, not very computer literate).

Case in point, I write out checks each month for the utilities, put a stamp on the envelope, and mail it off. I might use a credit card every 2-3 YEARS if I’m flying some place. I pay cash for groceries, gasoline, clothing, etc.

I’ve read your page about payment methods. Acceptable Forms of Payment – Republic Help

I’ve read your page about alternative payment methods. Alternative Payment Methods

Your text says: “On your Bill Cycle Date, you will also receive an itemized bill statement that is broken down into two sections. The first outlines your bill including your recurring plans, taxes, and total payment. The second outlines your cell and data usage for each service line. Following the delivery of this bill statement, a payment will be automatically attempted on your account.”

So my question is:
Am I going to be authorizing an automatic, pre-scheduled payments through my bank’s online bill payment service (not that I know how to do that) or, is RW going to just automatically suck the money out of my checking account if I give you my debit number.


#2

Hi @carolb.atceqc!

The amount is automatically charged to your card at the beginning of the bill cycle every month by Republic. It’s not something you have to have to schedule with your bank. I hope that helps!

mb2x


#3

You have it correct! RW puts your card on file in your own account. The monthly fees are Sucked as you say from your account. It is painless and you do nothing but account for it in your checking/debit account. It is safe and I have never heard in 5 yrs of being a member here of accounts being stolen or hacked. I assure you it is safe!


#4

I was just reading on Bogleheads someone who had allowed a company to suck the money out, and even though that service is no longer being used, the company keeps sucking the money out. The bank, 5/3, said they could not stop the auto debit because it had been set up with the business, rather than with the bank as an auto-payment thing.

So, RW would not keep sucking the money out if I stopped using RW? Looking for reassurance…


#5

Hi @carolb.atceqc!

No. Republic is not an unethical company. They care about their customers and their hard-earned money. I can assure you that you will not be charged for service after you leave Republic as long as your number is ported out or the service is cancelled (we hope you don’t though ;)).

mb2x


#6

It is very easy Mon-Fri 8am-5pm to have accounting correct any issues that may arise. Accidents may happen but I have been so pleased here I don’t see the issue you have thought of.
A support ticket would be made to correct the incident if one arises or you can have a chat with support.
RW support & chat


#7

AS @bocephous said, there is always going to be a remote chance something falls through, but it is highly unlikely and support would definitely rectify it!


#8

Hi @carolb.atceqc,

You’re very wise to be careful about giving out your banking information on the internet, and I can understand your skepticism.

I can try to assure you we’re good people who would not charge you after you cancel, but I can imagine even the scammers would try to do the same. Have you asked your financial institution what kind of protection they offer you? For my credit card, I have the ability to dispute charges that were unauthorized.

May I ask what state you are in?


#9

I’m in Indiana. When I called 5/3 bank last week to ask about how debit card payments would work for RW, they said it’d be no problem, you’d just take the money.

But then I read the Boglehead article tonight and that person’s problem was with a company that kept withdrawing payments when services were no longer being received, and the bank involved was 5/3. When I saw that 5/3 was not stopping the payments for that person’s situation…well, it got me wondering.


#10

Debit cards and credit cards do work a little different. Credit cards offer more robust protection should you need it (since you don’t have to pay till the end of the month). If a merchant acts up, you just have the CC company do a chargeback.

The funds are immediately deducted with a debit card. I know debit cards offer un-authorized purchase protection, but I don’t think they offer a whole lot of other services.


#11

That is disturbing to think that the bank won’t allow the account owner to end payments.

@rolandh’s article about alternate payment methods mentioned Privacy.com which might give you another layer of control.

I won’t deny we’ve had our share of mistakes, but we make them right.

I’d be glad to talk to you further by phone, if that would help you feel like you’ve spoken to someone real, or I can step back from this thread and let our members tell you what they think of us in their own honest opinions. Or both.


#12

When a process is in force to cancel accounts and billings the transition should be a smooth transfer. If a customer sidesteps the cancellation process thats usually when problems arise. Just ask any question and you will get good advice and documentation here.
cancel my account


#13

Thank you. I’m impressed that people are responding to questions on a Sunday night! I’m ok with reading the feedback from your customers. Thanks for the offer.


#14

Hi @carolb.atceqc,

@southpaw was kind enough to mention me, so, perhaps, the perspective of this former banker may help.

First, like others participating in the conversation, I’m very comfortable supplying payment information to Republic. Republic has never given me a reason to be anything other than confident about that. The rare billing errors that have occurred on my account have been quickly and professionally resolved. These have involved promotional discounts not properly applied to my account. Regular billing hasn’t been an issue for me. Additionally, I’ve never been billed after the fact for any line of service I’ve cancelled. I don’t insist the companies I do business with be perfect, just that mistakes get fixed without hassle.

Second, when researching Privacy.com for Alternative Payment Methods, I came away favorably impressed with their service. I do believe it provides an extra layer of security for those understandably concerned about protecting their financial information.

Lastly, both credit and debit card transactions are regulated under federal law (the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act respectively). Traditionally, credit cards have been thought of as offering more consumer protections but this really isn’t all that true any more. Bottom line consumers bear no responsibility for unauthorized transactions with either credit or debit cards. A recurring transaction becomes unauthorized the moment a consumer notifies the merchant previously authorized to stop. One’s financial institution may ask for evidence that one has properly notified the merchant but once that’s provided is obligated by law to chargeback any continuing transactions. As a practical matter most financial institutions will simply take their customer’s word that the merchant was properly notified. I haven’t read the Bogleheads article you reference (do you have a link), however, I suspect the issue was the merchant wasn’t properly notified. Proper notification typically means in writing but with Republic demonstrating that you canceled service online would be adequate. More information in this Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publication: Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards.

As an aside, we all read and quite reasonably are concerned by widely reported electronic breaches of consumer’s payment information. That said, I often reminded my customers that most credit and debit card fraud still occurs the old-fashioned way. For example, when dining out many of us provide our server a credit or debit card for payment without thinking twice about it. The server usually goes out back somewhere to run the card then returns asking for a signature. If that individual is unscrupulous, they easily can make note of the information needed to make fraudulent transactions on one’s card. It is for these reasons, substantial consumer protections have been enacted into law for both credit and debit card transactions.

Additionally, all card issuers and Visa/MasterCard in particular will rarely side with a merchant in a billing dispute with a consumer. It is in the card issuer’s interest that consumer’s feel confident using credit and debit cards. It’s how they make their money. Among the areas I worked in when still in banking was anti-fraud. All banks monitor customer accounts for potentially fraudulent transactions. They’ll say they’re doing so as a service to protect their customer and this is partially true. The real reason, however, is banks know that ultimately they and not the consumer will end up eating undetected fraudulent transactions.


#15

For what it’s worth, I’ve been a Republic customer for several years and have never had a billing problem. If I did, I feel confident they would fix it properly.


#16

Thank you, everyone. For what it’s worth, this is the link in the Boglehead discussion that got me wondering (and I bank at 5/3):

It sounds like everyone is really satisfied with RW. Thanks for the reassurance.


#17

that discussion the main example is more about e-checks than a debit card (there is less protection in e-checks where you give router and account number to a company to withdraw funds for a bill Republic uses a credit/debit that can accept recurring automatic payments which does have extra protections

with debit cards you give the card number and they make a charge (which is then paid from your account) this charge can be challenged

I have never had an issue with Republic billing more or less than what I should have been (I use mainly my bank debit card (for a awhile I used the now debunked Google wallet card to prepay few months ahead)

Republic used to have a issue where their contract billing company did release a hold correctly when payment was received on some cards making it look like it was doubled billed (they would put a hold then make the request for transfer and hold did not get cleared correctly ) they always made right for this and I not heard of this recently

as with any transfer of funds one should always check the right amount is sent


#18

Thanks. I truly am woefully ignorant. I’m not familiar with e-checks–what they are, how they work, how you set one up…
I appreciate the reassurance.


#19

E-checks are checks like the one you write from ones checking account, but done electronically (you give a company the router and account numbers same as on you physical checks and banks process they like checks (some stores will scan the router and account numbers on checks and process them as e-checks (Kmart use to do this at least when I worked there in the mid 90’s) it can be hard to stop a e-check from being process with out changing the account number (routing number is based on the bank)
another type of e-check are the banks bill pay feature where you give the bank the service providers account numbers and they will push the money over to them for you

the most secure online payment would be the banks bill pay as it requires you to push the payment and one call (interaction) to stop make recurring payments
the next secure would be the credit/debit cards as there are more consumer protection laws for this and it the most common way of online payments
e-checks are the last type I would uses as they can be the hardest to stop


#20

Hi @carolb.atceqc,

Thanks for the link. @drm186 is correct about e-checks (electronic drafts in banking jargon and banking has almost as much jargon as telephone companies). For what it’s worth, anyone in receipt of one’s paper check has all the required information to create fraudulent transactions on a checking account if they know what they’re doing.

The bank I used to work for placed stop payments for customers on e-checks for a one-time fee equivalent to our fee for stop payments on paper checks. Stop payments can be placed on a check number and/or dollar amount. The challenge with e-checks is there is typically no check number, so if the dollar amount doesn’t match the stop payment order exactly, the stop wouldn’t be effective. Despite what 5/3 told their customer, e-checks or for that matter paper checks can be still be returned unpaid after the fact. Using more banking jargon, these are referred to as late returns. The better longer term solution for those who find themselves dealing with the scenario outlined in the article would be to close the affected checking account, then open a new one with the same or a different financial institution.

None of the above applies to electronic funds transfers (EFT), the method used by Privacy.com, credit or debit card transactions. In all cases, these transactions can be returned after the fact, no stop order payment required.