Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Benefits of Paying Bills Online

If you haven’t embraced the capability of paying bills online, you may be missing out. Most companies make it easy to pay your bills over the internet within seconds. It can be so much faster than writing a check and dropping it off in the mail.

How It Works

Many banks have online bill pay feature that let you pay all your bills directly from your online account. Getting started can take some time – you have to add all your billers to your online system. But, once you’ve set up all the billers, paying the bills each month is simple. You just enter the amount you want to pay and the date you want to pay it. Your bank may have a relationship established with some major billers where payments are made electronically. For all other payments, your bank will mail a check.

You can also pay bills online through your billers website. For example, you can go directly to your cable service provider's website and pay your cable bill. You’ll typically have the option of using a checking account and routing number or a debit or credit card. However, if you’re paying a credit card, you’ll only be allowed to use a checking or savings account.

It's Easier, Faster, and Less Stressful

Since many online payments are made electronically, they clear much faster, often within just a few days. No more waiting on checks to clear. You'll have less of a need to balance your checkbook since payments are likely to clear through your account in just a couple of days.

Recurring payments are also a good reason to take advantage of online bill pay. If you have bills that are the same amount each month, you can set it up with your bank or with the biller to have these payments automatically deducted from your account on the same day each month. You might do this with major payments like your mortgage or auto loan payment.

Be careful signing up for autopay on bills that can vary from month to month, like cell phone service or electricity service. These bills can spike unexpectedly and sometimes erroneously. And once the money is deducted from your bank account, it’s hard to get back. The biller may credit your account with them instead of refunding the additional payment to your checking account. It evens out in the end, but it’s a short-term inconvenience.

When you mail payments, you have to do so far ahead of the due date to ensure your payment arrives ahead of your due date. But, when you pay bills online, you can often make payment just a few days before the due date, or on the due date with some bills. However, with credit cards, you want to make the payment in advance of the due date since payments made the day of or even the day before your due date can incur an expedited payment fee.

Paying bills online saves money and time. You’ll have to buy fewer checks, envelopes, and stamps. You’ll have to make fewer trips to the post office.

Enrolling in paperless statements can reduce the amount of papers you have to deal with. You can check your statement online. And you have the option to download and save or print it if you’d like. But, if you need the paper statement to remind you to pay your bills, opt-out of paperless statements and you’ll continue to receive a regular statement in the mail.

It can take some time to get used to paying all your bills online. Try it out for a few months to see how much simpler it can be. You can always go back to writing checks if you decide the online thing doesn’t work for you.
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Monday, 14 October 2019

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