by Susan Huizinga
Paying bills online has both cost-saving and time-saving advantages. Bill payment online means bills will always be paid on time regardless of whether you remembered to pick up stamps on the way home from work. Instead of spending hours with your check book each month, you can pay bills from your own computer in no time at all.
There are three main ways to pay bills online:
Ask your bank to add online access to your bank account. Once online you can add payee's to your online banking page. Payees are companies you pay on a regular basis such as your credit card, loan broker or utility companies. Once you set up payees, you can make instant payments or set up scheduled payments from your bank account. A plus, online banking is usually free as a part of your regular banking fees. Save extra by receiving your monthly bank statements online. Using your banks online banking system is the easiest and most efficient method of online bill payment.
Online bill pay services are services you can use to pay bills online using your bank account or credit cards. Some services charge fees (Paytrust.com) while others are free (Mycheckfree.com). To use bill pay services go to their website and fill out a registration. Registration will include your personal and payment information as well as any regular payees. Payees can be added as needed.
The bill paying service will then set itself up to receive your bills, emailing you as they are due. After receiving a bill by email, click "pay bill" and type in your desired payment amount. The service will pay the bill online using a funding source pre-chosen by you. Pay for use services offer more options and functions, whereas free services may be limited to certain payees registered with the free service.
Quicken is an example of software based online bill payment. If you use Quicken for your personal finances, you can pay an extra fee to use Quicken to pay your bills online. This options costs approximately one dollar per bill payment. No cost savings using this option, as you are paying for the convenience of online bill paying.
The following are online bill paying tips:
1. Online billing
You can set up scheduled online bill payments for regular monthly expenses including phone, cable, gas, electricity, water and taxes. Companies save money when you pay them online because they no longer have to send you paper bills or process mailed in payments. Often these companies will offer a monthly billing discount to encourage this option.
2. Make monthly credit card payments online
If you have credit card debt a painless way to pay down balances is to set-up automatic payments online corresponding with your pay day. Only $25 extra each week adds up to $1300 extra in payments each year. When you receive your monthly bill, decide what day you will make your payment and schedule it immediately. Schedule the payment for at least three business days before it is due to allow the receiving company time to process your payment and avoid late payment charges.
3. Add a little when paying mortgage and car payments online
Imagine your weekly mortgage payment is $422 each week. Raising your payment by only 15 per cent to $485 each week will turn a 25 year mortgage into a 15 year mortgage. Everyone tries to put a little extra money on bills each month. Few manage to do so, spending any extra money on little things. By spending your money up front with instant online bill paying, your money goes where it should automatically.