I have used online bill pay for a long time, but I only used it for recurring monthly payments and to send payments that I would otherwise have to mail. I started playing around with my bank’s bill pay and found out just how powerful it is.
Everything in One Place
When I changed banks to online only banking, I knew I wanted to keep my money organized. And you all know how I like to use aggregators to keep everything in one place. It is no surprise that online bill pay is exciting for someone like me.
When I log in, I have one central place to pay everything. I have my mortgage set on autopay from my checking account, 5 credit cards, which have their bills sent automatically to my bill pay, and personal “bills” that I have saved.
If you send a regular check to your parents, roommate, or landlord for rent or anything else, you can just save that person as a biller and have a check sent over in the mail. If you donate regularly to a non-profit by check (gotta get those credit card rewards where you can), you can set up an automatic payment or just send in a one-off donation from your bill payment hub.
Get Your Bills via Bill Pay, and Pay Them There Too
Bill pay is not just a cool tool for paying your bills, you can get your bills there too. Most credit card, phone, internet, TV, and utility providers work with banks to deliver your bill automatically via bill pay.
Once you are setup, you don’t have to log into a website to pay your cell phone and a different site for your internet and a different site for each credit card and your other bank’s site for your mortgage. You can do those all from one place.
I even get an email from my bank when a new bill is delivered. I just hop on my bank’s website and click the link to view the bill. Once I give it a quick check for accuracy, I hit the pay button and schedule a date for the payment to go through.
Pay Quickly with ACH
Who still uses paper checks anymore anyway? I sure don’t. Most of my payments are made though ACH. If you don’t know what ACH is, it stands for Automated Clearing House. It is a service provided by the Federal Reserve to send money electronically between banks.
Some billers only take payments via check, but whenever your bank finds that it can make a payment with ACH, it will do so automatically. That usually means your payments are sent faster and you have less time between when it is taken from your account and the due date.
Also, you are saving the environment by not using paper!
Send Someone a Paper Check
Okay, so maybe I was rash in making fun of people who use paper checks. If your bill is going to your landlord or a small non-profit, your bill pay will create and mail a paper check on your behalf.
It is pretty cool that you can go on a website, enter a payment, and have the hard work and postage taken care of for you. Just make sure to check the estimated payment receipt date if you are paying by paper check with bill pay to ensure your payment is not late.
What Can’t It Do?
Bill pay is awesome. It pretty much takes care of every non-credit card payment that I can imagine. Just remember, if you can pay with a credit card, be sure to do so. Credit card rewards are valuable. You have to pay those cards off sometime, however, and bill pay is a great way to do it.
If you have any questions or stories about bill pay, be sure to share them in the comments below.
Image by zfaerman on Flickr