Dear Harry:

For a long time, I have had a credit card with a department-store chain. In the last couple of years, I have let the balance due grow way beyond what it was when I first got the card. There are several different rates of interest on the charges still open in the account. My daughter has suggested that I identify my payments when I send my check so the store will credit the balances with the highest interest rate. The store says that it is not equipped to do that, and the only way they can credit the account is on a first-in-first-out basis. I think that means that they will use any payments against the oldest items in the account. My daughter say they have to credit the account the way I specify. Do they have to follow my directions?

What Harry says: Most ofcoursely! The Credit Card Act that went in force in February 2009 requires banks to do this automatically. It has always been the case with specifically identified payments much to the chagrin of many creditors. I find it incomprehensible that they are not aware of this. Try to contact the store's legal department to get them to straighten out their accounts receivable people. Your congressman can help you if that fails.

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.