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Online Bill Pay – Cheaper, Faster, Greener, More Secure

by Ryan Guina

I love paying my bills online. If it is possible for me to pay a bill online, I will. I think I’ve only written about 3 checks in the last year, and they were sent to individuals, not companies. My wife writes about one check per month to pay for singing lessons. Other than that, almost every bill we pay is done online. I love the convenience!

Besides the convenience factor, there are other advantages to paying bills online.

Save money. In May, the price of a first class Forever Stamp rose to $.42 and the USPS can raise the price of first class stamps once per year. Sure that isn’t much if you send one or two letters per month. But if you have 10 or more bills you need to pay every month you will be spending almost $5 per month. Online bill pay is free at my bank (and most banks) so that adds up to a savings of almost $60 per year.

Save Time. I can gather a stack of bills, sign in to my bank account, and pay my bills in less that 5 minutes. To further streamline the process, I stack the envelopes up next to my computer and leave them there until the end of the week. Then I open them all and process them at the same time. It’s much easier than my old process of opening the bill when it arrived, placing it in a stack, moving it from here to there for no apparent reason, trying to remember where I put it, then scrambling to find it right before the bill was due. I wish it didn’t take me so long to learn how to simplify the process! ;)

Improve Security. Using online bill pay can improve your security and can help prevent identity theft by reducing how often your checking account information is “out in the wild.” A common method identity thieves use for stealing identities is stealing checks and checkbooks, bills, and statements.

Help the environment. Reducing the amount of paper used saves thousands of trees every year. Fewer envelopes also reduces fuel consumption which in turn reduces greenhouse gases and fuel emissions. More trees plus fewer emissions means cleaner air. I like it! Paper production also produces billions of gallons of waste water each year. For more information about how using online bill pay can help the environment, check out Pay It Green. It’s amazing how much of a difference can be made if everyone takes a few small steps to improve the environment.

Take advantage of online bill pay and its benefits. Almost every bank offers online bill pay, including the bank I use regularly (USAA). If yours doesn’t, consider changing to a bank that does. It will save you a lot of time and money, it’s more secure, and it’s great for the environment.


Published or updated September 29, 2014.
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ron@TheWisdomJournal

I just renewed my car tag via the online interface at my state’s website. No lines at the DMV. No smarty pants clerk who’s having a bad day. No, “I need to see 12 forms of picture ID, a droplet of blood, and a ‘sample.'” Nope, just click, click, click and voila! Took less than 60 seconds…and that included booting up the computer.

Online bill payments are the same way. Click, click, click and you’re done. For the life of me, I don’t understand why more people don’t use it. All of your financial transactions involve the Internet in some way. Repeat: ALL of your financial transactions involve the Internet in some way.

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2 Island Spice

Yes bill pay is WAY better, I don’t even own checks anymore on the rare occasions I can’t pay online I buy a money order.

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3 Another Personal Finance Blog

Agreed. I love Bill-Pay. I used to pay every single bill through my bank’s free bill pay. However, I started wanting to take fuller advantage of my Credit Card’s rewards program. I still use Bill-Pay to pay the one’s I can’t use my credit card for (mortgage, car loan, etc.). For the others, I either do it from their websites or call and use my credit card. There are a few companies that charge a fee to pay by credit card, so I also still use Bill-Pay for them. Very convenient!

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4 Jarhead

Online bill pay might be the greatest thing in the world. I get paid on the 1st and 15th every month so to make my budgeting easier I just set up auto payments on those days. That way if I check my account on the 17th or 3rd I know my bills are paid and I don’t have to worry about a check not posting.

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5 deepali

I don’t like bill pay because it still takes a week or so. I use it to pay rent, but that’s about it. Otherwise, I use the payment option on my credit card, cell phone, etc accounts. It’s ACH and transfers much faster.

I’ve also simplified this further – I only get e-statements now too. They are available as PDFs, so I save them on my harddrive. So easy and convenient to sort and search too!

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6 Ryan

Deepali,

My bill pay usually only takes 2-3 days, so I prefer that method. But I try to pay everything with my credit card to simplify matters (track everything through one place, cash back, etc.).

E-statements are great if you have the discipline to take care of things right away. I don’t always do that with e-mail, so I prefer paper for now… ;)

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7 Richard @ Student Scrooge

Funny that you mention this — I have been meaning to reevaluate my system to see if I can take better use of Online Bill Pay. I have been a bit wary of any sort of automatic payments as I like to approve them myself, and I have also been a bit reluctant to arrange any of those systems where the bill pay system automatically retrieves the bill for me.

I also agree with APFB’s comment on trying to direct as many bills towards credit card charges as possible — its nice to earn a reward.

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8 Erik

anyone not paying their bills online is living in the 18th century. it’s the way to go, all the way.

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