Bank of America mortgage fee change: just pay on time

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I know, it’s very popular these days to hate Bank of America. And in most cases that hate is justified — when they foreclose on wrong house or do something else wrong and unethical. However, this year people went overboard complaining about the fees that bank charges when you try to pay your mortgage way past the due day.

Basically, if you haven’t made the payment up to the last 6 days of your grace period and you have checking account at some other bank and use online system to schedule the payment, you will be charged $6 fee.

Sorry, but in this particular case you can’t blame bank for “greed” or any other unrelated failings and get away with this. Due date is there for a reason. That’s when your payment, be it mortgage or some other line of credit, is due. You send the payment late, you incur the late fees. Except mortgage servicers traditionally allow you this “grace period” of 15 days where even if they get your payment post the due day, they still consider it to be made on time and credited on the due day.

But as I understand it, the grace period was added mostly to compensate for mail shortcomings as people traditionally just mailed a paper check. Even though US Postal Service does everything to deliver mail promptly, there’s still a chance of a snag here or there, and grace period is a buffer, that allows mail to come through so customer wouldn’t end up with a fee because of something that’s not his or her fault.

Instead of paying on time, however, people figured out they can keep their money a bit longer (or live closer to the edge, because savings accounts these days pay practically nothing) and started to routinely send payments past due date. Even worse, in this particular case customers complain about a scenario where they haven’t even tried to pay yet, didn’t mail a real check, and use online payment system to schedule money withdrawal from another bank less than a week before grace period ends.

Am I the only one who sees flaw in this logic? How about mailing a check? No? Because writing a bounced check is a crime in many states, and because they want to save a cost of mailing something? Of course, if your checking account is with the Bank of America they actually can do an instant transfer, and in that case don’t charge you a fee. But no, not paying on time, not even paying at the beginning of the grace period.

Sorry, but I feel no sympathy for whining about this fee. If you are in trouble and can’t make a payment, talk to the bank. But don’t act that it’s your right to make the payment late and not suffer any consequences. Or having a fee charged that is way less than a normal late fee. Say “thank you” and not drag out paying till the last possible moment…

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