What are some methods available to pay bills?

Written by Debby Debt   // May 9, 2011   // 0 Comments

Bill Pay

There are a lot of options out there to pay bills; they all have advantages and disadvantages to them. Some of them include: online bill pay through your bank’s website, payment by mail, online, over the phone, and in person.

Option one- Online bill payment through your bank’s website: Some of the advantages to this method include that you can pay all your bills in one place, you can pay anyone you would normally pay by check, and you can schedule one-time or recurring payments. There are some drawbacks to using this method as well. The big drawback is that a lot of banks require you to have a minimum balance in your bank account in order for the service to be free otherwise you end up having to pay a monthly service fee to use this payment method. In my case since I bank with Wells Fargo, I would have to have a minimum balance of $5,000 in my bank account or this service would end up costing me $6.95 per month. And in today’s economy who has extra cash lying around let alone five-thousand dollars. While they do give you two months to try it for free, you still have to remember to cancel the service, many people forget to cancel the service.

If you forget to cancel you could end up paying a lot of money every month for a service that you will never use. This also is not a good service if you live pay check to pay check. Another drawback is that you have to have a bank account in order to use this service. If you don’t have a bank account, option two could be a better method for paying your bills.

Option two- Payment through the mail: This is a very popular method if you do not have a bank account or do not wish to make payments online. Many people prefer to pay by check or money order. I personally don’t like to use this method for a number of reasons, one of which is writing checks. I don’t enjoy writing checks and try to avoid it whenever possible. Checks can take up to two weeks or even longer to clear the bank. Another reason I do not like using this method is that it requires envelopes and stamps which I personally would prefer to pay online where I can pay for free and don’t need additional supplies other than my computer and the internet.

Of course there’s always the question of “what if I don’t like to pay by check why don’t I pay via money order”? This also costs money, consumes time and you will still have to pay to mail it or drop it off. I am all about pinching every penny I can in this economy. Going to my bank or the grocery store and having to purchase one costs me time, money, and gas.

Option three- Online through company websites: This is my personal favorite method to pay bills. Why is it my favorite? On most websites I can schedule when I want the payment to be withdrawn from my bank account. This is convenient for me because I can see when I get my paycheck and schedule the payment to come out either that day if I decide to do direct deposit or sometime that weekend so I can be 100% positive the money is in the bank. This way I don’t have to worry about an auto payment in which I may run into a case where I don’t have the funds available to make the payments.

Option four- Over the phone via their payment system: This is a good option for individuals who don’t like to pay online or through the mail.  The downside is that some companies make you pay for this service. So for myself, I think the best overall method to pay bills is through company websites.


What do you think is the best method?


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