Late payment problem

  IanNiblock 15:07 09 Jan 2003
  IanNiblock 15:07 09 Jan 2003

This is not strictly a computer related problem but hopefully somebody here can offer some assistance...

A colleague of mine purchased some computer equipment in November using a Visa Electron Card. The card was accepted (as there was plenty of money in the account) and the goods supplied. Thinking no more of it she carried on as normal. This morning she received a letter from her bank stating that she had been charged £25 for being overdrawn without authorisation. Upon checking her statement online it seems that the payment for the purchase made in Nov was made this morning.
Obviously she checked back to Novembers transactions to discover that the payment was not made at the time.
The problem I see with this, is that the bank explained to her that when her card is used the amount is taken from her account immediately, and then handed over to the shop when they produce the receipt.
Should this just be put down to experience, and provide a valuable lesson about thoroughly checking your bank statements or is there any action that can be taken (at least to recover the £25 charge)?

I thank you all for any advice given.


  €dstow 15:13 09 Jan 2003

Has she really not checked her bank account since November??

Does she not keep a check on the movement of money in and out of her account?

Glad I don't run my business like that!;-))


  IanNiblock 15:18 09 Jan 2003


That is exactly the reaction I gave, however, this was not a business transaction (I suspect anyone running a business in such a manner would not last long).

I comletely agree that more diligence is required when dealing with your finances (I would certainly notice if I had spent £200 and was not taken from my account). However, I also believe that somebody else involved somewhere is at fault. Whether it is the bank for not processing the transaction correctly or the shop, I am unsure. That is the reason for my post.


  €dstow 15:25 09 Jan 2003

I think both the bank and shop procedures are the norm.

I'm not tight fisted by any means but I know to less than a pound how much is in my accounts (business and personal) and in my pocket as cash. I check them regularly. Discrepancies are immediately investigated.


  IanNiblock 15:31 09 Jan 2003

I disagree - I do not believe it to be 'the norm' for a trasaction to be processed (more so on cards such as Electron and Solo) 2 months after the purchase?

If this belief is incorrect then I apologise.

  €dstow 15:42 09 Jan 2003

I think what happens is as you have said - that money is allocated by the bank to the shop and only paid over to the shop account when the transfer slips or whatevers are submitted by the shop to the bank. It is by no means unusual for these to be made a month or more after that transaction has taken place although I agree two months is a long time, but then there is Christmas involved as well.


  Sir Radfordin™ 15:49 09 Jan 2003

Have a feeling that the transaction can be completed up to 6 months after the time you think you paid for it.

Doubt there is much that can be done but accept a closer eye needs to be kept on things. A simple speadsheet or a something like Microsoft Money would be ideal for showing how much money you really do have.

  watchful 18:54 09 Jan 2003

I have had instances where some companies take card payments immediately and others who have not taken payment for a couple of months. The same thing happens with cheque payments. It is annoying when a company does not present a cheque immediately as they may do so when you have not got sufficient funds in. When I was keeping accounts we always hot-footed it round to the bank to pay cheques in but it was the reverse when paying our bills! Always at the last minute then.
There isn't much to be done about it but it does help to do a reconciliation each time you get a statement.


I can say for certain, having experienced just the same situation, that she will be lucky to get the £25 back!

Yes, when using a card the processing identifies that there are suffcient funds to cover the transaction and authorises it. The problem is that unless the card is processed via a "real Time" terminal - i.e conected to the banks network, the transaction is simply "marked" as authoriased and will be processed in due course. (however long that may be).

I used a card in a retailers to buy a Lian Li case (At that time £160.00) Card was refused for insuffcient funds (Theres honesty for you)!

However, I knew that I had that morning checked my balance online and that it showed there WAS enough to cover it. I went to the local Lloyds hole in the wall and sure enough, drew out suffcient in cash - end of matter, or so I thought.

There had been other transactions going through the account that had not shown up on the online screen nor at the Lloyds terminal. By drawing the cash I had gone into the red and incurred the £25 charge.

Bank said "Tough" you should know how much you have and how much you have spent and therefore what you have left regardless of when you have spent it! (Pretty valid point really) :-))

Another example is when paying my Barclaycard online - Barclaycard makes you wait untill it has authorised your debit card before it acknowledges the transaction. However, It can stil take upto a week to show up on my online statement as being withdrawn!

Still, I got my own back later on when the bank make a C**K up and I was ent two bottles of wine and the £25 charge from earler refunded, but you have to argue for it!

  Forum Editor 19:40 09 Jan 2003

Debit Card transactions 'mark' the account to reflect the amount that is to be debited from the account, and then the system reserves the money.

If you check your balance by phone or via an Internet banking service you should see this marking in action. Your actual balance will differ from the amount available to spend/withdraw.

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