Online bill pay

I resisted online bill pay for the longest time, but now I’m a big proponent.


Original concerns
Writing and mailing checks to pay bills had been my modus operandi since I had become an adult and gotten a checking account, so I resisted switching to online bill pay when it first became available. A friend of mine, in contrast, quickly embraced the process and extolled it on a regular basis. I’m typically very comfortable with technology but for some reason resisted I was just not comfortable with paying bills electronically, even though my paycheck was being auto-deposited into my checking account and I was otherwise managing my accounts online.


Moving to online bill pay
The impetus to start using bill pay was the bout of increases in postage stamps a couple of years ago, probably around the time that the Forever stamp was introduced. With the actual cost of a stamp no longer printed on the item it became easier to forget about the cumulative cost of all of those check-carrying envelopes that I was mailing out each month. But at 45¢ per stamp nowadays (and with likely increases in subsequent years) the cost of mailing paper checks adds up quickly (assuming 10 mailed checks a month at 45¢ per stamp = $4.50 a month or $54 a year). Although not a large amount of money in one respect, it also represents $54 needlessly spent each year when a free alternative is available. I move to online bill pay and have never regretted it.


Alerts and things
One of the nice features of online banking is the ability to set alerts for numerous different events, for example when the current account balance falls below a certain $ threshold, when a check or electronic payment above a certain amount of $ clears one’s account etc. I have turned on every alert available on my primary checking account, which gets annoying when I play several bills at once as I get bombarded with the corresponding text alerts, but it’s worth the annoyance because it reminds me that any unauthorized activity on my account will also generate an alert, given that I’m the only authorized user of the account.

I’m hesitant about the paperless billing option that many companies are offering these days however. I’m all for the elimination of wasteful paper (and it always interests me how credit card companies utilize so many sheets of paper to generate a statement even when no transactions have occurred on the credit card) but am not sure that an email about a pending payment is sufficient to ensure that I pay the bill on time. Especially as the spam filters on my email accounts (yeah I have several) sometimes mark an email as spam when it clearly isn’t, even emails from legitimate companies, I think I will keep clicking the No thank you option each time I see the prompt screen for the paperless billing option. I may not want to pay the USPS to mail my bill paying checks but I’m fine with my credit card companies paying to mail the original billing statements to me.

Have you adopted online bill pay and/or paperless billing or are you still doing it old school? Comment below and let me know.


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About Shy Witness™

My blog posts range from observations about current events to technology, general life observations, and the antics of my dog Sandy, her brother Ricky, and her half-brother Morgan. View all posts by Shy Witness™

2 responses to “Online bill pay

  • nkdweeks

    I agree, all that paper for a no good reason! An old fashioned “tickle file” could be your answer – set up calendar reminders to alert you when a bill is coming due. Or, my bank offers a reminder system within the bill pay application itself. The way I actually manage this – I pay all my bills on the same day. Some companies let me set my own due date, some bills wind up being paid a little early, but I take an hour (probably less?) and am done for the month.


    • Shy Witness™

      Those are all good suggestions. I have a recurring calendar reminder to pay my mortgage but going completely paperless and managing everything online like you are doing is my obvious next step. I guess I just picked up another new year’s resolution that I need to work on. 🙂


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