If you don’t pay your bills online, then you’re missing out on some major convenience.
Paying your bills online is a safe and convenient way to manage your personal finances.
Plus, if you’re like most people, you haven’t written a check in a while. Even the Federal Reserve reports the use of checks has been cut by more than half in the last decade.
If you want to learn how to pay bills online, here’s how to get started.
What is Online Bill Pay?
Online bill pay is an online platform that lets you pay bills without writing checks or sending anything through the mail.
When you make an online electronic payment, you say where you want the money to go and how much to send. Your bank withdraws the funds from your checking account and sends it to the vendor who receives it almost immediately.
If the bank doesn’t have a pre-established connection with a company, the bank will issue a paper check on your behalf. In that case, the payment will take a little longer to get to the final destination, but the bank still makes the payment without you needing to write a check or waste a postage stamp.
2 Ways to Pay Bills Online
You have a few options for paying bills online, but they all involve just a few clicks.
The most accessible option is to use your bank’s online bill pay feature. Although traditional and online banks offer this service, you’ll want to find out if you have to sign up for it or if it’s automatically included.
Log on to your online account, find the bill pay option, and select the vendor you want to submit a payment to.
If this is your first time paying this vendor, you’ll have to add them as a provider. This includes entering the account number and billing address so your bank knows where to send the money. You can send a one-time payment or create a recurring payment. If you always pay your landlord the same amount each month, your bank can send them money without you having to remember it.
You can also pay your bills online with prepaid debit cards if you don’t have a checking account. Paying everything from your utility and credit card bills to student loans is easy with bill pay from your prepaid debit card account. When using your bank or a prepaid debit card, you’ll love the convenience of only having one username and password to remember.
Most companies you do business with will let you access your account information and make payments online from their website. This isn’t as easy since you need to create an account with each vendor and keep track of multiple websites with different login information. A system like LastPass can help you store passwords without compromising safety.
Doing it this way might be worth the hassle since some companies discount your bill for setting up automatic payments. You should still double check that payments go through correctly and that you aren’t being overbilled.
Online Bill Pay FAQs
The convenience of paying your bills online is easy to see, but nothing is black and white.
Is Online Bill Pay Fast?
Banks have a direct electronic connection between their bill pay portal and vendors that lets you send money almost immediately. But delays can happen, and you’ll be better off scheduling your payment at least two to five days ahead of the due date.
Is it Free to Pay My Bills Online?
Most financial institutions don’t charge you for paying your bills online through their platform, but a few do. Some waive the monthly fee if you sign up for electronic statements. Always read the fine print so you know if there are any fees or special charges.
Is Paying Bills Online Safe?
Identity theft is always a concern when making payments or shopping online. However, banks and vendor payment portals use bank-grade encryption to keep your financial information from being stolen. Your personal information like your account number, routing number, and the details of your transaction are safe from hackers.
Can Paying Bills Online Save Me Money?
Although saving time is a huge benefit, you can also save money by paying your bills online. You’ll avoid late fees by scheduling payments in advance.
Since banks can send paper checks to vendors like your landlord if they don’t accept electronic payments, you’ll never have to buy checks or postage stamps again.