Unfortunately, I made a $100 error in my payment. Rather than paying an extra $40.37, I underpaid the monthly payment by $59.63. I learned my mistake when I received my mortgage statement, indicating that my entire payment was in "suspense funds received" and had not been applied to my mortgage at all.
I immediately called Chase. Even though it was an hour before their call center closed, I was unable to get to a human being. Instead, after being told I was being transferred to customer service, I got an automated message saying that my call could not by completed. I looked for online options for payment, but the Chase website referred me instead to their phone-based "FastPay" system. The "FastPay" system by phone charges a $15 fee (which the phone system says can be avoided by using the online payment system) and only allows making a full payment.
I tried again the next morning, and got through to Tonja, a customer service rep who told me that I could only make a full payment through the phone (not the $100 I wanted to pay), but said if I connected an external bank account online, I could make the payment that way, and as soon as the extra $100 was received, the payment would be applied as normal. I'm also well within the 15-day grace period for a payment, so I don't have to worry about late fees.
Online, I searched through some counter-intuitive menu options--within the mortgage account, payment options send you to the page about FastPay over the phone--I finally found that from the front page I could get to an option to connect an external account. I started the process, and learned that my bank could not be connected instantly by putting in my online banking authentication information, but had to use a method of verification where Chase puts two small deposits in my account and I come back later and input those amounts back to Chase to prove that it's my account (or at least that I have access to it). It then allowed me to attempt the instant verification method, despite its previous claim that my bank didn't accept it, but that failed (and I probably shouldn't have tried--Chase shouldn't have my authentication credentials to another bank). It then said it would take up to two business days for these deposits to go through.
The next day, my bank showed me that there were two pending deposits from Chase (yet another cost Chase is incurring), so I went back to the verification page and entered those amounts. Chase's website informed me that because those deposits had not been made yet, I was not allowed to verify the amounts yet. Dumb design. I tried again later in the evening, and my verification was accepted. Now I went to the page to make a payment, only to find that once again, the only option is to make an entire payment. Contrary to what Tonja told me, I cannot pay just an additional $100, because there is an outstanding payment that hasn't been made, and my $1100 sitting in "suspense funds" doesn't count and can't be used.
Well, I've got the money in savings, so I decided that if Chase is going to make things so difficult, I'm going to go ahead and make a full extra payment and deprive them of a little more interest over the life of my loan, in addition to the overhead costs they've incurred through this episode. The website told me it would take two business days to process, so it will be applied on February 11--still during the grace period. But now I still am not sure that the $1100 will be applied to principal reduction, so I called in again and spoke with Kim. I explained what has happened, and pointed out to her that Chase is losing money from its inflexibility, and she offered to move $100 from my January extra payment to February so that I could cancel the additional payment. I thanked her for the option (which I would have needed to take if I didn't have the money to spare), but declined, since that would result in an increase in interest. I asked if she could verify that the $1100 would be applied correctly, and she suggested that I call in again after I see online that the new payment is applied--which will incur yet further costs to Chase.
This is a nice demonstration of how an inflexible payment system doesn't deal well with partial payments can cost a company money and customer goodwill.