bank rates

Skipping A Car Payment Could Help

Two unusual deals just landed in the Bankaholic mailbox — one intriguing, one not.

Harris Bank wants to let us “Enjoy More Summer Fun” by skipping a car payment.

Mailbox messages

That sounds like a pretty terrible reason to stop repaying any kind of loan. Why a reputable bank would encourage frivolous spending in the middle of a terrible recession is beyond us.

Skipping is not the same as forgiving a payment, either. Harris adds the payment, and some extra interest, to the end of the loan. There’s also a $50 “processing fee” that must be paid right away.

But if we were out of work, had our pay cut, or been hit with a big unexpected expense, delaying a car payment might make sense.

Indeed, if we were struggling to keep the bills paid and get through the economic downturn like many families, the timing of this offer might be pretty darn good.

The deal we didn’t like came from Wells Fargo.

It asked us to “authorize delivery of your Free Credit Report.” All we had to do was attach a gold sticker that said “Send me my credit report” on a form and mail in back.

Of course that would also sign us up for Identity Theft Protection, with $12.99 a month — or nearly $160 a year — being added to our mortgage payments.

Most of us get very little benefit from a service like this and free copies of all credit reports can be obtained at

But identity theft protection is almost always profitable for the banks.

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Comments (4)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.17 out of 5)
4 Existing Comments
  1. Phil said:
    on June 30th at 09:31 am

    Concerning credit reports: I’ve heard that any time you access your credit report, it actually lowers your credit score. Any know whether this is true?

  2. maggie said:
    on June 30th at 12:04 pm

    if you get your own credit report it doesnt affect your rating. only if a 3rd party accesses does it get recorded. you can access it as much as you want (or can afford to). and with so much fraud going on, I think it’s a great idea. one thing I WOULD tell you, my experience with signing up for Experian’s monthly service, where you pay a fee and then you can track your score whenever you want, and they email you a monthly ‘status’ is a TOTAL nightmare. it’s impossible to cancel, and they hit you with fees even after you’ve written, called etc… Avoid it. use the website they mention above. it’s the only one officially allowed to issue ‘free’ reports, and that’s mandated by law. All the other sites that offer ‘free’ are all Bait & Switch!!

  3. hallmonitor said:
    on June 30th at 12:07 pm

    I really hope that more & more consumers are getting wise to these ‘free offers’. Please keep up the good work alerting us to these ‘creative marketing scams…er…I mean…schemes’.

  4. Rayle Shonie said:
    on July 1st at 05:45 pm

    Sounds like Harris is, as you say, encouraging frivolous spending, for the sake of business – so they can get that bonus processing fee, plus extra interest.