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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Paying Bill Online

Online bill paying makes your life easier. You don’t have to write checks, get them into the mail, or work as hard to track your transactions. If you’re interested in online bill paying, find out what it takes to get started and where to do it.

How it Works

Online bill paying can happen in a few ways. Payment may be made electronically, or somebody (such as your bank) may print a check and mail it to your payee. Either way, online bill paying happens when you get the process started online and somebody else handles the logistics for you.

Use Your Bank

For most, online bill paying is easiest to do at your bank. You probably already have a checking account with free online bill pay, so use it. You’ll enter information about your bills, and login to your account each month to pay them. You may also authorize the bank to pay bills automatically.
Your bank may pay your biller electronically, or they may actually print and mail a check for you. Either way, you don’t have to write a check and get it to the mailbox. The transaction usually shows up with your payee’s name, so it’s easy to track your spending.

Use Your Biller

You can also use online bill paying options at each of your service providers (often called “ACH debit”). After you provide bank information they pull money from your account each month as your bill comes due. While this requires less work on your part each month, you don’t control when money comes out or exactly how much they take.

Other Services and Software

Some companies offer online bill paying as part of a software product or for free. Financial management programs such as Quicken and MS Money may allow you to pay bills from the same program you use to monitor your finances. You should expect to pay for this form of online bill paying - usually a modest monthly fee.
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