Check for Billing Errors — April 2012, reviewed January 2013

Opening the mail everyday is one of the financial management tasks that can help manage dollars better in any household.  If you have signed up to get monthly billing electronically it’s still important to open it!  Take the time to review the billing and ask yourself a few questions.

Is this charge accurate?  This is especially important if you’ve missed payments.  Even if it is accurate, are there some ways it could be lowered? 

Have I already paid this bill or a part of it?

Was my payment credited to my account?  To cut down on clutter, once the previous months payment is shown as credited, it’s okay to shred the billing. However, make sure it’s a billing statement not needed for taxes or other important records.

Are there fees that are not warranted?  For example, if it’s a cell phone bill and you went over your minutes limit, examine how much extra you’ve been charged. 

Has my interest been increased?  Was it increased because of a late or missed payment?  With the new credit card rules, six successive months of on time, minimum payments, will help get you back to the previously lower interest rate.

Did I approve this charge? Did another family member or a friend make this charge without my permission? This could be a sign of fraud so examine the situation carefully.

Reviewing your bills for errors is an important step in managing dollars better.  There may not be errors but it reminds us of what our behavior costs.