With the advent of the internet, many companies now allow you to pay your bills online. To go one step further, some banks and companies even allow you to setup automatic payments that are made without any effort on your part. This has many obvious benefits, with the most significant being the time involved in writing a check and paying 42 cents for postage.
As with anything, there are also some potential drawbacks. Submitting more information via the web opens you up to a higher possibility of identity theft. Granted, if you practice safe online procedures, this isn’t much of a concern, but online hackers and phishers are always looking for new ways to snag your data. The other possible drawback is that it can make people lazy when it comes to keeping track of expenses. If someone isn’t good about balancing their checkbook or keeping tabs on when all of the automatic payments come out, it can be harder to grasp all of the outflows of money.
That being said, we try to pay most of our bills online. Most of the big expenses such as the mortgage, car insurance, auto loan, and student loan payments are automatic and we don’t even have to think about it. But when it comes to bills that can fluctuate from month to month such as utilities, we tend to pay online, but manually so we can review the charges and make sure there are no mistakes before payment is sent. And of course, there are a few bills that simply don’t accept online payments, like our sewer, which requires the traditional paper check.
So, how about you? How do you prefer to make payments, and why?
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.