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American Express Balance Transfer Woes

Late last year, I had taken advantage of a balance transfer offer from Citibank and received a check for $24,000 that I deposited into my ING Direct Orange Savings account. As it has been earning interest and nearing the offer expiration date, I was preparing to schedule the transfer of funds out of savings to pay off the balance.

This is when I received an offer from American Express that included a 0% offer on balance transfers through October 2007. Given that the offer did not have any transaction fees, I opted to open this account and planned to transfer the balance from Citibank over to American Express and extend the earnings in my savings account.

After opening the account, I called American Express Customer Service to initiate the balance transfer to Citibank. Based on the fact that I was told that it could take 4-6 weeks to process, I patiently waited for the transfer to be processed. Yesterday while browsing the American Express website, I used the feature within the website to check on the status of my balance transfer.

Much to my amazement, the website indicated that there were no records of a balance transfer request on my account and an 800 number was provided. Once I connected with a CSR, I was informed that there was no record of the balance transfer request on my account and as luck would have it, I was not able to find the paper where I recorded the date, time and CSR ID that I spoke with when making the initial request.

Since there was no record of the balance transfer request, I now had an answer as to why it had not yet processed. The CSR re-entered the details of my request and informed me that it should process in 7-10 business days. To be on the safe side, I have opted to transfer the funds out of my savings account and pay the Citibank balance while I await the transfer. Once the transfer is processed, I will have a credit on my Citibank account and will then have them send me a check for the balance.

While everything is being worked out, this was a snafu that I had not been planning for and makes the process slightly less inconvenient. As is always the case, be sure to stay on top of the details if you are playing the 0% balance transfer game. In the end, I will miss out on a few weeks of earned interest as the funds transfer back and forth but I will continue to enjoy the monthly income in my savings account.

However, I would like to know what happened to my initial balance transfer request and how it somehow disappeared into the abyss. It would be interesting to see if American Express can search their call records to locate my original conversation, assuming of course that they do record the calls and maintain those records.

5 Responses to American Express Balance Transfer Woes

  1. I called Amex and they said it says 15 days to process my transfer. This is the longest compared to any other card I have worked with. Citicard took about 4 days before I saw the payment in my other account. Chase took about 5 days before I saw the payment in my other account. Why so long?? I am not sure and also not sure why they told you 7 to 10 days when they told me 15 days.

    • There are times that it seems the answer you receive depends on the Customer Service Representative that you are speaking with at the time.

      As you mentioned, AmEx has been the slowest in my experience and seems to have more delays/problems than some of the other larger banks.

  2. Debt Consolidation Lowdown » Blog Archive » The 66th Carnival of Debt Reduction

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  3. theinvisiblewoman

    I paid AMEX Delta $15K last week. They reduced my monthly APR I went online to do the balance transfer (1.9%) with no problems. Now I find that my limit has been reduced to $10K. They say I have a severely negative report with Experian. Experian, Equifax, & Trans U say not so…. I have to fax my 20 page report to an office in Canada. Great. International call, faxing my own report, no supervisor to help….

    • Before rushing off to fax everything in I would try to call again and talk to someone. Sometimes the simple act of talking to a different Customer Service Rep can make all the difference in the world.

      Also, have you recently requested a copy of your free credit report to verify there aren’t any negative items? If it has been awhile I would recommend getting one, preferably from Experian if you haven’t received one from them in the last 12 months – otherwise you will have to pay for it.

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