Bluebird bill pay clusterf…

I’ve heard from quite a few people recently that Bluebird’s bill payments are often going to the wrong biller.  Obviously, this can create a huge headache if it happens to you.  Personally, I mostly withdraw money directly to my bank account (see “Bluebird’s transfer money button”) so this hasn’t yet happened to me.  Instead, I asked fellow blogger @palmerlaw (travelblawg.com) if he’d be interested in doing a quick guest post on this topic.  What follows is Mark’s post…


Double Check Where Your Bluebird Payments Flew

Bluebird has been a great tool for paying some payees that do not otherwise (or easily) take credit cards, including rent, tuition, mortgage payments and student loans.  However, since Bluebird has made several updates to its website, there have been some reports of errors with what seems to be the conversion of the previously entered payee information.

I heard some reports of users having issues with payments being sent to the wrong payee, so I tried to be extra careful in recent months by deleting an old payee and reentering it before issuing a payment.  

While making the online bill pay payments, I did notice that while one payee would be selected to be paid, a different payee would appear on the next confirmation screen. It could be easy to miss. That prompted me to stop, go back, and do the delete-reenter method.

Drat! I must have missed one.

I noticed a large payment still hadn’t posted to a certain Chase credit card.  But before giving it another day or two to post, I received a “notice of payment posted” email from… my mortgage company? But I already made that Bluebird payment and already received the notice email for that bill pay. Huh?

I logged in to my mortgage website and sure enough, a payment of $4,010.00 was made (at least all to my principal). Duh!  So I went to Bluebird’s website to confirm I wasn’t crazy.

Here’s what I saw on the homepage. That looks correct.

BBhomepage

Upon clicking the transaction, it still appears correct.

BBtransactions

But thanks to a tip from Erik (@AZTravelGuy), the key to solving the payee mystery was to check your Payee List for last payments made. Yep, there is where my payment really landed!

BBbillpay

What should you do?

Double check any recent Bluebird bill payments.

Clear all previous payees and reenter all information before making any new payments.

Too late?

Did the wrong payee transaction cost you a late fee/interest for missing a payment on time? You might be able to get a reimbursement from Bluebird.

Contact Bluebird (24/7 contact 877-486-5990) and refer them to their technical error and commitment to pay the proper payee (on-time). See sections 6(b)(c) and 20 of its Member Agreement here: https://www.bluebird.com/legal#member-agreement. Follow-up snail mail correspondence may be necessary. 

-@palmerlaw


A big thanks to Mark for writing up the above post!  Checkout his travel + law blog at travelblawg.com.


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Comments

  1. Correct me of I am wrong, but I think the issue is due to having multiple BB accounts. Did you pay you mortgage from account A. Then at some point log into account B to pay your Chase?

    This has happened to me and I clear my cookies before logging into account B.

    • Its bluebird brid issue, I have been paying with BB for over a year using 2 acct, never happened, BB updated their system lately, I guess the bug came with it.

    • You might be on something. I experienced this issue with multiple accounts on the same browser. It cleared up when I switched to a different browser that I have never used for BB.

  2. Happend to me last week, paid 2k from my acct and 2k from my wife’s, inly one posted, so I requested inquiry from both acct, to find out the one from my wifes acct went to a different card.

  3. BB scared me off of BillPay when a simple property tax payment hadn’t been paid within 10 days. I generate checks the old school way – I write BB checks and mail them. Although I may start withdrawing to a checking account….

  4. Serious deficiency in BlueBird IT controls. Were you able to get Wells to refund your payment? I’m guessing you didn’t want 4k to stay with them towards the principal. I made a payment to my mortgage (Chase) a few days ago and had no issues but thanks for the heads up.

  5. I’ve had this happen – fairly certain it’s a cookie issue as others have pointed out. So, change browsers or clear cookies or use incognito mode.

  6. It’s been going on for a while. Try editing one of the payees also, it pulls up different accounts. I thought it was just my account so I never alerted anyone 2 weeks ago when it was happening. Sorry guys

  7. The problem is you can double check and verify and it can still be sent to the wrong bank. I had 2 separate times where I verified and even got the email confirmation saying the correct accounts paid. But both went to 2 different banks. I even called BB CSR and they verified I made the payments to the correct accounts. Yet I have 2 accounts now with huge negative balances. When the CSR was looking at the account he couldn’t see it went to the wrong accounts. Don’t bother with BB, just send secure message and request ACH (or check) back.

  8. It does appear to be a ‘more than one account, tracking cookie related’ issue – use only one BB account on my computer with many old cards (and others more recently added during the different transitions), make many payments a month. Just checked and all of my payments went to the correct locations/cards.

  9. Have you had any issues with simply loading $5000 per month into your bluebird account, then moving a large portion of it to your bank account on a monthly basis? I thought they may have a problem with this if it were a pattern.

  10. I had set up a bill payment to be mailed back in mid-December, and I’m still stuck in the middle with Bluebird saying the check was delivered and cashed, and the payee saying he never received it. I can’t get Bluebird to send me a copy of the check cancellation, and so far they’re basically telling me they did everything right.
    I should have noticed something was wrong from the minute I started the bill pay though. It said the payee would receive it in 3 days, which is clearly wrong for a payee that has to get it by mail.

  11. I have been using the Bill Pay all along and haven’t had any problems. When this situation surfaced somebody on FT said to delete your BP accounts and add them back one at a time. This has worked for me as I haven’t had any go to the wrong account.

  12. I might get shutdown but BB is simply another step in manufactured spend. Load with beans, move to bank. Period.
    Yes, I pay 3 or 4 local bills(the ones I can fix easily when BB screws up), but I try to limit BB online checks.

  13. I can’t even access the Bill Pay section of the website. I see recent transactions (reloads) but no other menu items.

  14. It’s even worse than that. If you use the same computer for multiple accounts, the 2nd user’s payee will switch to the 1st user’s payee on the confirmation screen. And, what’s worse, is that it will show the 1st user’s payee’s information.

    In other words, if you used BB billpay on a public computer, and I logged into my account to do a billpay, on the confirmation screen, it would show me YOUR payee and YOUR credit card number. Thanks Bluebird!

  15. I’ve seen the “my payees show up on my wife’s account” myself. As a programmer myself, they likely are storing information in “session” and not clearing it out when they should. Your session is usually tied to cookies so that can help, but the best way to avoid session problems would be:
    1) Open browser, clear data
    2) Only pay one bill each time, clicking on no payees but the one you intend to pay. If you screw up and click on a different payee, go back to 1
    3) check that the dropdown and confirmation screens matches the payee you clicked using “pay bill”
    4) Once done with paying a bill, logout and close the browser and ALL other browser windows for the same browser- it has to be shut down entirely
    5) go back to step 1 to login to a new account or pay a second bill

    Basically, if they are screwing up session data, doing it this way ensures that you start with a clean session every time, and that you don’t load incorrect data into the session before you finish your bill pay (as just clicking pay bill, editing a payee, etc without completing it could load the payee into session depending on how it is coded).

  16. @Andy T — Why on earth would you login to your Bluebird account on a public computer? You would be asking for trouble!

  17. Bluebird sent one of my Billpayments to the wrong credit card about two months ago, I had only paid one bill that time and I could not figure out how that had happened! I was very surprised to catch the mistake a few days before the due date, and just barely managed to get the bill paid on time from my checking.

  18. @Gene — I don’t log in from a public computer, but was just highlighting that Bluebird will potentially display your credit card information to strangers, without any hacking or tricks required on their part.

  19. This happened to me last week. Five payments were shown as completed to the correct payees with correct account numbers. All of the payments went to different payees. It’s not me. I’ve been doing this for more than a year. Bluebird opened “investigations” and concluded that the payments were made correctly and they considered the issue “resolved.” It’s not resolved, not even close. Bluebird acknowledges IT problems but does nothing to fix them. I finally gave up on Bluebird (which of course is Amex, a multimillion dollar company) and contacted the five payees where there was a credit balance and each of them said they would mail refund checks. Not sure what to do in April. Deleting and re-entering account numbers for numerous payee accounts sounds tedious. Any other simple fixes?

  20. I’m with commenter Norimond above – I write a BB check and mail it in. Then I can make a copy of the check if I want one for my records.

    I also have every bill I use BB for set up as an autopay from my bank. So if I get the payment out first, or pay midcycle, the bank just pulls nothing or the amount of the remaining balance.

    The only time I use actual bill pay is when I want to pay extra on my mortgage. If there’s a screwup, nothing happens except my principal remains the same. If I mess up the timing (that is, if the BB payment arrives when the bill has been issued but the bank payment date is still coming up) then the mortgage gets paid and the bank autopay doesn’t kick in.

    I think mailing a few checks a month is a lot easier than closing and opening browsers, or rectifying things when they go awry. And I’ve got all those Forever stamps I bought before I started doing autopays 😉 !

  21. The website is horrible. I found that I can’t even pay more than one bill at a time through the website. When I go to pay the 2nd bill the “submit” button does nothing when I click it. I’ve switched to the mobile app for bill paying (iPhone version, I think there’s one for Android too) and (knock on wood) haven’t had any issues with it.

  22. How do I actually clear my payees, or even individually delete them?

    I can’t even find the button/menu that does that. Their website is so incredibly bad and ill-designed. Can anyone help me out? I can’t even get the list of payees (which I could in previous versions of the website). I also can’t remove any of them anywhere.

    Help?

  23. @phone-home yes the website is badly designed. Try to click on Pay & Transfer tab, then Pay a Bill, then you should see list of payees and a link that says delete payee. Good luck.

  24. Can anyone who used the BB “Transfer Money” function report the following. Does the receiving bank treat incoming funds as EFT or Direct Deposit? It’s not always easy to tell the difference, but it’s potentially very useful info 😉
    I haven’t personally used that function yet, so the community input would be appreciated.

  25. I used bb pre-authorized check to pay my rent. Check was returned NSF. Spoke with property management team (large complex >200 units) and they scan and electronically deposit all checks. Called bb and they couldn’t tell me anything except that I gas the funds. I can only guess that it had something to do with electronically depositing the check since the bb csr kept repeating that my check was pre-authorized. No resolution. Had to write a check from my other account. Will need to call bb to cancel the rejected check.

  26. I have had problems for a couple months where the internet version of bluebird wouldn’t let me pay my rent. I would just keep clicking on the submit button and get error saying that I had the wrong zip code. If I use the blueberry app, everything works fine. Also, I’ve tried from the beginning to get sign up for text alerts and I click to have them send me a code to verify but I never get the code. Called t-mobile and was told I would have to allow premium texts in order to receive the ones from bluebird. If it wasn’t for the MS I don’t think that they would have very many customers.

  27. I have only one Bluebird account, and have had it for only four months. So far I have paid mortgage x 3 and electric bill X1 with no incidents. Also a number of preauthorized checks no problem. Only glitch was the one payment to my HELOC account took about two weeks to post after I called the bank and told them of the payment that hadn’t posted two weeks after it said it was paid on BB account. After a while they found it and the payment posted. So I assume that all of these problems are due to folks with multiple BB and I have nothing to worry about? Do any of you with complaints have just one BB account? I will still be very careful and maybe use preauthorized checks dropped off in person to my bank for HELOC from now on.

  28. I found a while back that my payments showed going where I intended but being sent somewhere else. I did about three payments and they were all misdirected. I then cancelled all these payments, which I didn’t know you can do.

    After some research and setting up another bill pay, I found that since I have 5 accts, the info was being mixed up among the 5 accts. On each acct, I deleted all payees and started over. I re installed all my payees without any non letter in each payee name. Aftre doing this,I logged off and closed the firefox browser. Next, opened chrome and did the same thing to the next acct. Then used IE, doing the same thing. The last two accts, I opened firefox and chrome deleting all cookies/history and did the same.

    I now log in to each acct using a different browser. I close the browser each time.

    Honestly, this is ludicrous, and if I weren’t doing ms I would have ditched this piece of crap BB right after the first bill pay issue.

  29. A payment was one week late….! Not good!!! I have to be able to trust that people are going to follow through their responsibilities. Any more mistakes and i’m gone!

  30. I deleted my payee and now get an error that BB is unable to re-add it. The issue seems to be that the address is similar to mine – the payee is my apartment landlord’s on-site office. Frustrating because it’s the same address as before. ALSO the info I enter on Address Line 2 for others payees disappears after I save it. I saw a few instances of this second issue reported on FT. BB site sucks – not to mention that my last bill was paid 5 days late!

  31. I paid my rent on April 1st with a Bluebird check. I got the preauthorization code and followed the simple directions. Today my landlord says it bounced for Insufficient Funds. $130 in NSF and late fees. HORRIBLE. Has anyone been able to get Bluebird to reimburse Insufficient Fund fees? I look forward to hearing their explanation for this.

  32. I had a problem with their bill pay being sent to the wrong Chase account A YEAR AGO! I thought it was just me making a mistake…now I am thinking it was quite possibly them (maybe because I was logging into a Serve account and a Bluebird on the same browser and I also had multiple Chase accounts on my bill pay). That bill pay scared me and I ACHed $825 out to my bank. You know they didn’t like that and froze my account till I provided a statement by fax with same address as BB account. They released the funds quickly (luckily) and I have all but abandoned my BB account.

    Their card is Third World. I feel sorry for anyone who is unbanked and actually trying to use this as an alternative. If the churners were not using it, who would?

  33. ouch. Thought I was paying a Bank loan, From another family members BB account. Payment went to a Barclaycard credit card that I don’t use anymore. Called Barclay when I saw the $2,500 overpayment on the account. Phoned then , CSR said they would send me a check. 2 weeks later I got a letter from Barclays saying, the payment was made from a Bill Pay service and the refund was issued to them. I had hoped Blue Bird would get the money back and credit it back to my BB account. another 2 weeks has passed , nothing yet.
    What resolution have others had , and how long has it taken. I guess I may have to involve other family member.
    Any chance this will sort itself out???

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