How Do You Pay Your Bills?

April 2017

We all have bills to pay, and we all have our own method of paying them. Some people choose to write checks, some choose to pay online, and some choose a combination of both. What method works best for you?

Online Bill Pay

Many financial institutions, such as your credit union or bank, offer some form of online bill pay. Bill pay allows you to set up automatic payments to pull right from your account. To use bill pay, all you have to do is setup your payees and choose a date for the payment to be processed. Keep in mind, the date you select is not the same as the due date of the bill. You may also be able to receive your bills through the bill pay service.

Pros

  • It’s convenient. You can see all of your bills at one time and can quickly schedule a payment.
  • It reduces the risk of fraud because fewer businesses have access to your account number.
  • You can save on postage and reduce the risk of postal service delays.

Cons

  • Not all payees accept electronic payments. A check is sent to the payee if they can't receive electronic payments, creating the risk of a delayed payment or theft.
  • Payments must be scheduled at least 3 to 5 business days before they are due.
  • Payments are only processed on business days and not on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.
  • You can't use the bill pay service to make tax payments, court ordered payments, or send payments outside the U.S.

Options for paying your bills

  • Online bill pay
  • Online direct pay
  • Checks

Online Direct Pay

Online direct pay allows you to log in to each of your accounts and set up a payment method. You can typically set it up by providing the routing number and account number of your bank account.

Pros

  • You can usually pay on any date including due date, weekends and holidays.
  • Payments made before the daily cutoff time typically post on that day even though the transfer of funds will take a day or two to complete.

Cons

  • To pay your bills, you must login to each account.
  • More businesses have your account information which raises the risk of fraud.

Checks

Even with online payment options, paper checks still have a place. For example, you may need to pay your taxes, make a one-time payment, or pay someone for a service.

Choose the Bill Paying Options Right for You

Having several payment options provides you great flexibility in managing your bills. You can mix and match these options to best manage and protect your personal finances.

 

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