InvestorSavings.com Friday, June 23, 2017
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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 named account 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 you wish to be paid, 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 their contact 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 transfer.

Payments are made by EFT (electronic funds transfer) and also by debit and credit card, and some bill pay services like Wells Fargo can even draw from Personal and Home Equity lines of credit. The service might also offer printed 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. Wells Fargo does such a 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, some service providers 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 auto payments got started in the first place.

While auto check debits help to assure timely payments, and avoid the menial task of record keeping, there is a possible disadvantage. And that is, how the account holder's bank might handle a discrepancy in the event of a dispute with a business and account holder (such as for merchandise later found to be defective). Whereas with many credit card companies, for example, protections are in-place on behalf of 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 of methods for making payments. And the larger the number of service providers you deal with, the greater your chance of risk increases. To help safeguard:
  • 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 low account balance to help minimize damages 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, and 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 might come in handy.









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