Online Bill Payment & Savings/Accounts
There are three main options for paying bills online:
1) Dedicated Bill Pay Services
The Bill Pay services offer the major advantage of paying your
bills from a single location, "at a click" so to speak.
Where usually, account setup gives the option of making automated
payments where the funds are automatically subtracted from a
and this happens on a recurring day-of-the-month basis, or via
login to your account. For the setup, you will
be asked to submit individual contact details for the bills
and copies of billing statements may need to be sent in for
proof. To consolidate the process, its usually easiest to
organize a list of your service providers and
details ahead of time. Making the crossover to electronic
will also mean notifying
your billers of the probable changes of address and keeping
track of your bills that have not, as of yet, completed the
Payments are made by EFT (electronic funds transfer) and also
by debit and credit card, and some bill pay services like Wells
even draw from
Personal and Home Equity lines of credit. The service might also
checks to be mailed, on for payment.
With this method, it often helps to deal with a service that:
- provides ongoing customer support & not just in making the transfer
- sends confirmation of payments processed, usually by email
- states not to sell information on your buying history
- offers advantages in terms of reversals/stop payments on transactions,
noting this may not be offered by some services
- gives a decent history and tracking of transactions for your
buying behavior - reaching back upon request without
any tacked-on fees.
Basic fees for online bill payment services have waned
over the past 10 years or so, back when they started at
around $9 per month with a per-transaction cost (beyond a stated
baseline). Today this costs around $5 to $7 per month.
A refreshing change in the paid model is the newer of offering
these services at no charge.
thing, for those having other "eligible
accounts" or combined minimum balances that
reach $5,000 (otherwise is $6.95 mo). Free is
also offered by another company, Netbank. Although,
may want to charge a "convenience fee" for
transactions done this way.
Among those who benefit from these paying services are
frequent travellers, anyone with a busy schedule and many more.
2) Savings/Checking Account Auto Deductions
Savings accounts with checking accounts attached are popular for bill paying
transactions. This is promoted by
large numbers of service providers and businesses and its the way
in the first place.
While auto check debits help to assure timely payments, and avoid the menial
there is a possible disadvantage. And that is,
how the account holder's bank might handle a discrepancy in the event of a dispute
business and account holder (such as for merchandise later found to be defective).
with many credit card companies, for example, protections are in-place on behalf
the consumer to help guard against this.
3) Manually Accessing Service Provider Sites
Visiting individual websites with a credit or debit card (attached
to your savings account) is among the less secure
for making payments. And the larger the number of service providers
you deal with, the greater your chance of risk increases. To help
- alphanumeric passwords, and especially those with special characters
area usually harder to break
- copying and pasting passwords as opposed to manual entries might help
to subvert against key loggers on a local pc.
- it could be wise to maintain a savings accounts dedicated
just for this, keeping a
in the event the account is hijacked ( along with the bank having
what guards set in place)
Pro's and con's of this method include incentives that many
cc companies advance toward purchases, like frequent flier miles,
bonus points. But the main disadvantage, that is, interest if it
is a cc, which can go towards ceiling rates, can soon offset
this. Therefore, a savings account with minimal balance
come in handy.