Why Online Bill Pay Is Right for You

Online bill pay is no longer a question of whether you should or should not do it; there are obvious benefits to making your bill payments online, as long as you are comfortable using this technology.

The Benefits of Online Bill Pay

According to a September 2012 article on Bankrate.com by contributor Marcie Geffner, an obvious benefit to online bill pay is the convenience of being able to pay a bill without paper checks, stamps, envelopes and mailing time.

It brings instant gratification to an entirely new level, where busy consumers can make payments toward a bill or loan with immediate results. It also helps consumers build good credit history as they make payments on time.

For bills with payments of the same amount each month, like rent or mortgage, or even a car payment, you can set up recurring and automatic payments to ensure you never miss paying one of these top-priority bills on time, Geffner says.

Online bill pay is no longer a question of whether you should or should not do it; there are obvious benefits to making your bill payments online, as long as you are comfortable using this technology.You can even better control your finances with online bill pay using scheduled one-time payments.

“The practice of scheduling payments — up to a year in advance at some [financial institutions] — allows consumers to keep their cash as long as possible without being concerned that a check might become lost or stuck in the mail,” says Geffner.

More than just for monitoring payments made, online bill pay also enables you to keep track of your spending for better budgeting, like with a credit card.

“Many [financial institutions] offer money management tools to categorize your expenditures so you can see, for instance, that your pizza budget has little room left for pepperoni tonight. Being able to spot expenses that creep up can be a big help [in] keeping your finances on track,” adds contributor Katie Doyle in a September 2012 article on Bankrate.com.

For bills paid out of a joint account, using online bill pay helps you monitor the cash flow out of the account and will help you avoid overdraft fees.

Geffner adds that this can be especially important if you forget to tell the other person on the account you’ve made a withdrawal or payment, because the account will immediately reflect the money coming out of the account. If you write and mail a check payment, it is not reflected until the check has been cashed by the billing company.

The information flow also moves in your direction, reminds Doyle. Online bill pay keeps you informed of when the payment has been received, sometimes giving you the option to receive an alert via email or text message.

Online bill pay has even made its way to person-to-person transactions, Geffner says. Now you can pay your babysitter immediately through online person-to-person bill pay, for immediate convenience to you and the sitter.

Is Online Bill Pay the Only Way to Go?

The simple answer is no; you can still make payments via paper check and the mail. This could change, however, as more and more people adapt to the digital world of financial transactions.

“The decision a person makes to adopt a new technology is based on two key factors,” says Fred Davis, professor of information systems at the University of Arkansas, in a September 2013 article for business and economic programming broadcaster Marketplace. “Number one, [a person’s] perception of whether the technology is useful. And second, it should also be easy to use.”

For baby boomers and older generations, it may be difficult to find the technology useful, as remembering log-in credentials and using a computer in general can become obstacles in the minds of these consumers accustomed to more traditional transactions. However, for the younger generations, especially those people who have grown up in a completely digital era — i.e. millennials and Generation Z — the ability to adapt to online technology and pay bills online is innate.


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