Consumer Advice

What’s the Scoop with Automated Bill Paying?

Automated Bill payWhen your bank offers “automated bill paying” options with your check or savings account — it does not always mean that your money will be automatically transferred into your creditor’s account.

Here’s the deal. Most banks have a list of large vendors (such as Verizon, AT&T, VISA, MasterCard) who already have accounts set up where your bank can easily transfer your payments electronically. Large mortgage companies will also have accounts set up nationally.

However, you’ll need to read the fine print. Your bank will tell you how long it will take before your creditor will receive your payment. Some will have same-day or second-day payment options. If you find that the bank is telling you that there will be a five-day transfer time, what they really mean is that that particular creditor will be receiving a paper check and it will take five days for that check to be prepared and sent in the mail.

So, here are some tips for paying your bills using automated bill paying…

  • Find out when your funds will be transferred from your account to your creditor’s account
  • Will the money be electronically transferred or will a check be written instead?
  • Set up email alerts to remind you when bills are due to eliminate late fees
  • Enter the date you want the bill to be paid
  • Set up a notice to let you know when the bill has actually been paid
  • Set up a notice to let you know when your account balance reaches a certain minimum dollar amount so your account does not become overdrawn
  • Monitor your bank balances every other day.

Just paying a little extra attention will eliminate late fees and overdrawn bank accounts!

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