Friday, July 11, 2008

The advantages of electronic bill pay

I have a confession to make--I still pay bills using a check. I know it is old fashioned and so 1980s, but there you are. In fact, up until last month, I had paid my utilties, phone/DSL and wireless accounts electronically, but sent a check for my mortgage and credit card payments. However, I decided to take advantage of my credit union's free bill pay service to begin to pay these latter two bills. There were two reasons for this change:
1. I save myself the 42 cent stamp to send the payment.
2. I can schedule when the payment is sent out.

I am leery of my credit card company having direct access to my bank account especially when I was recently informed of some unauthorized activity on my account. (Is this what I get for switching to a well-known credit card company?) My mortgage company has an automatic payment service, but it is an assigned date every month. Frankly, I like having control over my money to the point that I dictate when my money is used for bill payment, not the company. Using the bill pay service via my credit union allows me to keep control of my money, but retain the advantages of electronic payment.

My paper checks will still be used albeit rarely. My once monthly grocery trip is paid for using a check (tradition more than necessity as the store now accepts debit cards), occasional workers are paid with a check (e.g., I just had some electrical work done in my basement), and other sporatic events that may arise. Not only does using electronic bill pay save me money in the short run (i.e., not using a stamp), it saves me money long term as the checks I have purchased last longer before I need to purchase another set. Who knows? By the time I need to order new checks, they may be obsolete!

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