Paying Bills Online

I love the convenience of paying bills online.  That’s not to be confused with loving to pay bills, who does?  I don’t have to waste my precious forever stamps and it saves some trees by reducing the amount of paper used.  I also don’t have to file statements into my file bin for a couple years, major time saver there!  Both now, and in the future!  I manage and pay pretty much all my bills online.  The only type of bills I get in the mail are medical/co-pays and most of the time I can pay those online too.

I know the days each of my debts/bills are due and I usually make my payments right after pay day.  I have never once had a late payment on any of my debts/bills…until July, unfortunately.

Prior to my mid-July departure, I went through all my accounts to make sure I had all bills paid online before I left for my two week vacation.  When I paid my US Bank credit card I had a small inkling that something hadn’t worked correctly but I shrugged it off.  I’ve made this payment many times before, how could I make a mistake this time?

Image from Punny Money

Well, I should have trusted my gut and double-checked.  Better yet, I should have saved the confirmation code!  When I got back from my vacation I found that I had a late fee of $25 for not paying and my account was past due!  What?!

I called US Bank inquiring why my payment had not gone through but because I did not have the confirmation code, they would not waive the late fee.

I was never one to write down confirmation codes or print any pages “for your records” because the point of online payments was mostly to reduce paper!  I now have a new outlook on dealing with online payments!

My desktop now has a new folder called ‘Receipts.’  I’ll either start putting print-screened images of payment receipts/confirmations in there or save the confirmation codes to a notepad document.  This will never happen again!  I definitely learned my lesson here.  Learn from my mistake folks, keep track of those pesky confirmation codes!

But Kasey, Why Don’t You Set Up Automatic Payments?

I know, I know.  Automatic payments make things a lot easier but I honestly only use them when it saves me money.  My car insurance reduced my monthly payment by $5 for using auto payments.  Sallie Mae offers a .25% interest reduction for automatic payments but (besides the horror stories I’ve heard) since I make 2-4 payments each month based on the accrued interest, I don’t see the point using that feature at this time. For all other debts it just doesn’t make sense to use auto payments when what I can afford to pay (above the minimum) fluctuates each month pay period based on our spending.

Do have automatic payments set up?  If you pay your bills online, do you save your confirmation codes or print receipts?  Or are you still getting paper statements?

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12 thoughts on “Paying Bills Online

  1. I had auto payments for a very short period of time, on one of my student loans, because they offered a .25% interest reduction (yeah, I know, I go big or go home with stuff like that!). I took it off shortly after because I discovered I am a control freak, and their billing periods did not match my own.

    I do have online billing on everything that allows it, and what I do is copy the confirmation codes into a notepad, or take a screenshot and save that. I’ve had to use it once before when they couldn’t “find” a payment, and it’s a great help. I don’t save all of them, though; I forget to save a few here and there, but I also make sure I get an email confirmation of my payments, so the saving of the code is just as a secondary precaution. I don’t get paper statements, thankfully.

  2. I think for me it’s a combo of all those. I still get statements from my bank because as a freelancer I have to go through all my bank statements at tax time and see what’s deductible. I use other methods too but that’s just one way, so I’d end up printing it out then anyway. I do some auto pays and the rest are mostly ones I pay online. I think the only thing I pay with paper is medical stuff, car insurance, and rent. BTW that totally sucks they wouldn’t waive the late fee. 😦

    • I can see how having your bank statements in paper form would be helpful for you. I try to keep away from paper statements because they end up sitting in a file folder for years collecting dust. 🙂 It does suck about the late fee. I explained how I thought I paid before vacation and how it seemed to have been a technical error on their site. I mentioned never being late before. But, le sigh, she wasn’t willing to work with me.

  3. Ugh, so sorry about that. I’ve been late a couple of times & they’ve always waived the fee (but I don’t have US Bank). I do pay online & keep the “receipts” in a folder as well. I pay one over the phone & they always give me a conf. code that I write on the statement (the one paper statement I still get -don’t ask me why LOL) then keep it until I get my next statement that shows the payment on it.

  4. I do some auto payments, then just do them manually, electronically, if that makes sense. I can’t keep track of all of it! You gotta watch it like a hawk. Boo, sorry for your late payment!

  5. I’ve only recently started paying bills online again, but I will not do automatic payments. In 2005 we had our car payment processed 100 times and we were negative $35,000 for months while the bank and loan companies battled it out! I keep a spreadsheet for all my bills and I put in the date paid, amount paid, and the confirmation number. It’s come in handy keeping those confirmation numbers!

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