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Beginner's Guide to On Line Bill Pay - Intro to On Line Bill Pay, Bill Pay Through the Bank

online bills paper service

You have probably heard all kinds of talk about people paying their bills over the internet. More and more companies and banks are joining the online revolution, and offering customers the ability to take care of their bills online. But if you’ve never done this before, it can seem somewhat confusing to set up. In this guide, we will introduce you to the basics of online billpaying, including the most common ways to set up online payments and the various risks and rewards that come with them. We will also show you some of the top third-party service providers that can take care of online bill paying for you. Read on, and soon paper bills could be a thing of the past!

Intro to On Line Bill Pay

On-line bill paying can be a great way to streamline your bills every month. However, it is important that you stay on top of your finances, even more than when you used paper bills. Because online bill pay arrangements are typically scheduled to withdraw funds on the same day every month, you must make sure that you always remember when bills are coming due. You won’t have the luxury of a flexible payment window like you do with paper bills, which usually give you a couple of weeks’ time to mail back a check. So again, memorize your automatic withdrawal dates and amounts! Trust us, you don’t want to be surprised when your checking account is overdrawn to pay for your cell phone bill – this can lead to credit problems, overdraft fees, and a whole lot of stress.

Online Bill Pay Pros

-Quick and convenient
-Less expense for everyone involved – no postage, no paper, etc.
-More eco-friendly

Online Bill Pay Cons

-Risk of overdraw (forgotten expenses)
-Lack of paper bill grace periods
-Threat of identity theft (rare, steps can be taken to eliminate the risk)

The most common method of paying bills online is to simply have your bank do it, as we will discuss below.

Bill Pay Through the Bank

It does make sense that your own bank is the easiest way to conduct online bill paying. Chances are, the funds to pay your bills are all coming out of the same checking account anyway, so having your bank do it automatically is a fairly simple prospect. Most banks today fully support automatic bill paying systems. Just head to your local branch or to the bank’s web site, where you can find out the specifics for your own bank’s system. Ask about bank fees that are charged for this service, and also be sure to find out what any penalties are for insufficient funds. Also check to see if they have an online interface where you can monitor your automatic bill schedule.

Bill Pay Through the Vendor

Another common option is to simply give the vendor permission to withdraw funds from your account. While this is a common practice of many reputable companies, it is important to proceed with caution whenever you authorize anyone to withdraw funds from your account. Make sure that you know exactly how much will be charged every month, and make sure it’s in writing. Also be aware of the vendor’s chargeback policies. If you find yourself in a billing dispute with a shady company, it can be a real nightmare. Even if you put a stop on any withdrawals from the company (which you should do with your bank), You may find it to be a very long and painful process to get your money back, if it comes back at all.

Rather than give a vendor your actual checking account information (which never changes), many people opt for credit or debit cards instead, which can be changed out if you becomes a victim of theft or fraud.

Bill Pay Through Third Parties

Lastly, we’ll look at the two top third-party bill pay services, which you can turn to if your bank doesn’t support online bill pay or if you don’t have a credit or debit card.

MyCheckFree is, like the name says, free. They are a reputable site that can help you coordinate your online payments. However, it does come with its drawbacks. This service does not eliminate paper bills altogether, and there are a limited number of eligible payees that you can pay bills to. But because it is a free service, it is a good place to get your feet wet with online bill pay if your bank doesn’t support it.

One of the top paid options for online bill pay is PayTrust. This service actually has you change your billing addresses to the company’s address, where they will receive your paper bills and make arrangements to pay from your card or checking account. This service is handy for business travelers who are often away from home, making missed paper bills a thing of the past. Records of all bills are kept secure for eight years. However, this service comes with a price tag! Expect to pay transaction fees for each bill that is accepted and paid here.

That’s it for this guide to on line bill pay options. We hope you have enjoyed learning more about this convenient phenomenon. With the proper precautions, going paperless will make your life a whole lot easier!

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