Online bill pay is a service offered by many banks who allow customers to access their accounts online. Think of online bill pay as the 21st century version of writing and mailing checks to pay your various bills. By default, the bill payment options aren’t automatically turned on so you will need to log into your banking account and look for the option to set up bill pay. Additionally many companies that accept payment for services such as credit card companies, recurring subscriptions, and prepaid services allow users to log on and sent money electronically. There are multiple reasons why online bill payment services are a good idea.
Firstly, you can schedule payments to multiple different bills that may be due at different times. Then when the scheduled time comes the money is automatically debited from your checking account and sent as an electronic payment to whichever company the bill is owed. This is great because it ensures you won’t be late on your bills or forget to pay a bill.
Another great benefit to online bill pay is that it saves both time. Instead of having to write a check, put it an envelope with the billing statement, get a stamp, and mail it off, the bank takes care of paying the bill for you. Some online banks even offer the option of “paper checks” so you can pay bills where electronic payment is not accepted, when the bill is due (or when you choose to send payment) the bank issues a paper check to the billing company. Note that in some cases the bank might charge a small fee for paper check service but the convenience alone is often worth the small fee. In terms of saving money, paying your bills online can save money. If you set automatic payments you’ll avoid late fees and interest charges. You’ll also save in other ways, such as saving on stamps, trips to the post office, and checkbooks.
Banks aren’t the only online entities that offer online bill payments. Many companies that collect money for services or usages such as cell phone companies, credit cards, student loans, recurring bills (like cable and internet), and many other services allow you to create free online accounts. These accounts for each company let you see your detailed bill each month and make one time or recurring payments on your account. When a payment is issued, your linked bank account sends the money electronically to the company. This saves time, energy, paper, and money.
A final reason to consider paying your bills online is the ease of tracking payments, keeping bills organized, and confirming payments. When you mail out a check, you may eventually get confirmation of it being received. But what if it never gets there? You might wait weeks for a notice to come, complete with a late fee or interest tacked on. With online bill paying, you get an email when you pay, and you can usually set up a confirmation email to come when the payment is received. You can also see your bank account balances and recent transactions to see exactly when your bill payment was transferred to the company whose bill you are paying. This helps you track your budget, see bills being paid, and ensure you have adequate funds in your bank account before the money is debited out of the account.