In personal finance, budgeting and savings are the staples to being on a fruitful financial path. Staying knowledgeable about purchases is helpful to reach the end goal and it only takes one wrongful charge to throw everything off.
I personally don’t carry much cash on me because I’ve learned I end up spending it all, or I lose track of it in couches and clothes pockets. Using cards allow for a smaller wallet and better tracking of my spending. After purchases, I can log into the accounts and classify transactions to analyze when the time comes. Keeping a close eye on each transaction makes it easy to identify any charge errors that will occur. This is the modern method to balance a checkbook. It’s great when everything checks out, but when unauthorized or wrongful charges happen, the panic can be overwhelming.
I’ve had 2 instances when I had to dispute such charges. The first one was a few summers ago while getting drinks at a baseball stadium. This was a great trip that turned sour after returning home and checking my transactions. The drink that was supposed to be $10 showed up as $100. I disputed the charge through my bank account logon under the transaction and within 2 weeks, I was refunded the extra $90 charged. I’m sure this was just a data entry error on the restaurant side, but everything little thing matters when living paycheck to paycheck.
There's are so many booking companies based overseas. Why are people in Europe able to help me book a room better than local people?— K.P @ Hungry Being (@hungry_being) October 11, 2017
The second time was for an unauthorized hotel charge. A friend was getting married out of town and getting a hotel close to the venue was a hassle. After some research, the best deal I could find was through Bedfinder, an online booking agency. The room had to be prepaid at the tune of $237, so I made sure to send all the digital receipts to my email. I got to hotel on the date of the wedding and was asked to present a credit card. Assuming this is in case of damages to the room, It didn’t even phase me. I check my account transactions after the trip and realize the hotel charged my card another $137. Having being in the situation before, I contact both Bedfinder and the hotel, with a few receipts in hand, they were able to resolve within a month.
If I’d never taken the time to check my accounts periodically, these extra charges would have eaten into my funds. It’s always important to log into the accounts dashboard and vet any charges as data entry errors happen all the time. I have been checking mine weekly so I can be ready at all times. Some banks even offer real time text notifications of charges and that may be of value. In case of a wrongful or unauthorized charge, be prepared to contact the venue that charged or enter a dispute through the bank. Be calm, and be ready to fight while giving any required documentation. Never be charged for something that you did not pay for.