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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Loving the online bill pay

I finally set us up with the online bill payment option that our bank offers back in April. I've slowly been migrating things over to it as my trust level has increased.

Today I think I finished moving the last regular bills over to it. It's so much easier than writing checks. I don't have to spend money on postage. I don't have to lick envelopes. I can "write" the check well in advance and not have to worry about it clearing early, because I can tell the bank when to actually send it out. For example, I just set up our trash pickup payment to go out on 6/23, as it's due on July 1. It'll actually be mailed on 6/23, but it's taken care of 3 weeks early and I don't have to think about it. I suspect that for many of the payees that the bank already has set up, it's not even a paper check that's mailed, it's actually an electronic funds transfer - making it safer for everyone involved (checks won't get lost in the mail).

This also makes recurring payments a breeze. I just set up one credit card payment to happen incrementally - a little bit each week, repeating for 12 weeks (it's a no-interest card that we're paying off). Now I don't have to even think about it - it's scheduled in Quicken as a weekly transaction, the payment goes out from the bank every week, and I know the payments will arrive on time. Done.

If your bank offers free online bill pay, and you aren't using it, what are you waiting for? The time savings alone make it worthwhile - the extra security and convenience are just icing on the cake.

3 Comments:

  • Online bill pay can be very good. We have been using it in one form or another for a few years. One caveat for all your readers who are not using it...the date on which it is "sent out" varies. About half of our bills do not take electronic transactions so they are actually mailed from the bank...the others take e-pay and are sent over the net directly to the company...no actual mail time. We found this out by accident when our bank told us to enter the date we wanted the bill paid...not when we wanted it mailed. They are able to get it to the company usuall with 24 hours of the date we choose. YMMV...depending on banks.

    By Blogger El Gee, at 6/05/2006 7:03 AM  

  • Excellent point, El Gee. I usually set my payment dates for about a week (5 business days) before the payment is due. This provides ample time for the check to get on its way, if it's a paper check.

    Most payees require that the payment be postmarked by a particular date, unless they explicitly say "payment must reach us by". I know with our last apartment, as long as the payment envelope was postmarked by the fifth of the month, we were considered on-time - if I put the check in the mail on the fourth, it usually arrived on either the fifth or sixth, and sometimes wouldn't post to our account till the eighth or ninth.

    By Blogger dakboy, at 6/05/2006 8:18 AM  

  • I love the online bill pay, and use it all the time. I now write a check about once every three or four months, if that. Best of all, our credit union doesn't charge a penny for the service.

    By Blogger Lissa, at 6/06/2006 10:15 AM  

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