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Incorrect financial punctuation could be costly

Careful punctuation isn't something that just writers need to pay attention to. It's a financial imperative.

Take a recent mistake I made with a period in utilizing my online bill payment service. That misplaced decimal could have annihilated my checking account, not to mention my credit rating when other payments subsequently bounced, as well was my sanity.

It was an error made during a process I've completed a gazillion times over the last two years:

  • Get the e-mail notice that a bill is ready for online viewing.
  • Go to the company Web site and check the charge.
  • Head straight to the online bank account to schedule payment.
  • Type in the amount, date to pay and hit "enter."

Two days later I'm back at the my online payment page to take care of another bill. This time, though, I see that I have more than $7,000 scheduled to electronically head from my bank account to creditors in the next week or so.

Dollar_signs What the … ?!?!?!

Seems that I told my bank to pay Austin Energy $6,950 instead of $69.50.

My very, very bad.

And I've got no excuse. I should have double -- triple -- checked my entry before hitting "enter."

I just got lucky that another bill arrived soon enough after my financial typo to give me time to correct my mistake.

So the electric company only got what it billed me, not 100 times the amount.

That means I still have enough money to pay the holiday Visa and MasterCard charges that will be showing up any day now.

And you can be sure that I'll look long and hard at those amounts before e-paying them!


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Money Blue Book

A lot of times they will send you an email confirmation when you initiate the transfer order - a good opportunity to check for mistakes

But wow...that's a big typo.

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