Making Bill Pay Efficient and Easy

Do you want to make it easier to pay your bills? Implement payments via online bill pay services to pay bills with minimal time and effort.

There are many bills you may need to pay on a monthly basis. For example, you may have a recurring gas bill or electric bill each month. You may also have one-time bill payments to make for certain services. In either case, paying bills may seem like an annoying chore. It may also cause you some problems, such as if you misplace a paper bill before the day on which you sit down to make your bill payments. You may also find you frequently forget to pay bills on time. 

Paying bills online is often the best way to streamline the bill payment process. Doing so can help you avoid many of the problems above. You can make payments quickly without disrupting your schedule. In fact, you can even schedule automatic payments of certain bills on specific days each month. However, not all bill pay options are identical. Here is what to know when selecting and using a bill pay service.

What Types of Bill Pay Services Are Available?

An electronic check is a common type of online bill pay service. It is also called an eCheck. An eCheck is a type of digital payment. It is processed online using an Automated Clearing House (ACH). The ACH automatically moves funds from one account to another, such as when an eCheck user purchases an item from a retailer online. Paying using an eCheck takes less time than writing out and mailing a paper check. Here are some other types of Bill Pay Services:

  • Service provider bill pay systems are systems put in place by specific service providers or merchants. For example, utility companies frequently have their own bill pay systems. Customers can visit utility company websites, login, and use those systems to pay their bills quickly. All they typically need are their login usernames,  passwords, and basic account information. 

  • Banking institution bill pay systems are provided through specific credit unions or banks. Customers of those institutions can utilize those systems whenever they need to make payments for goods or services from any retailers or other sources. Examples of banking institutions with such systems include Bank of America and Chase.

  • Software programs designed for bill pay or featuring bill pay tools also provide useful ways to pay bills online. Some such software programs are stand-alone tools. Others are offered by larger accounting or money management software brands, like Quicken. In the latter case, they are often provided alongside other useful money management tools.

What Are the Benefits of Using Bill Pay Services?

One of the best benefits of using online bill pay services is saving time. When bills are displayed online, you do not have to search for paper bills you may have misplaced. There is also no need to write paper checks. You also do not need to waste time taking checks to your local utility company offices or other locations. Other useful online bill pay benefits include:

  • Environmentally-Friendly Bill Payment

  • Better Security Compared to Paper Checks

  • Consolidation and Easy Viewing of Financial Information Online

  • Improved General Organization

What Types of Bills Are Best Paid Using Bill Pay Services?

Bill pay services are useful in many situations, including to make certain one-time payments. However, they are most useful when you need to make ongoing payments to the same payees. Utilities are paid monthly. Therefore, they are perfectly suited to scheduled online bill payments. Some other payments that are best paid using bill pay services are payments for:

  • Car Loans

  • Home Mortgages

  • Credit Cards

  • Student Loans

  • Streaming Service Subscriptions

  • Other Personal Loans

What Are Some Top Bill Pay Software Programs and Services?

Using software is one of the best ways to manage multiple types of bill payments all in one place. Several companies provide software for that purpose. It is possible to use more than one such program to make bill payments. However, sticking to only one can keep bill payments easier to manage and monitor. Here are some of the top programs available:

  • Quicken Bill Pay allows users to view debts owed within the Quicken program easily. Users can then manually make payments or schedule automatic payments to certain vendors. Users can also list bills they continue to pay offline next to their online payments, allowing easy budget management.

  • Prism is a program designed specifically for users who frequently forget to make bill payments on time. It includes automatic payment options and automatic reminders of upcoming payment dates. Prism also offers multiple ways to make payments, including using credit cards or prepaid cards.

  • Mint Bill Pay is part of the all-in-one Mint program. Mint is a full financial platform that provides access to credit score tracking, bank account balance checking, and budgeting tools. The Mint Bill Pay tool is usable on various mobile devices. Therefore, users can pay bills quickly from any locations.

  • Paytrust provides online and paper bill handling services. Copies of paper bills are scanned for easy viewing and record keeping.

  • MyCheckFree is a website that allows users to pay bills from specific companies, such as T-Mobile. Hundreds of companies allow the service, which provides bill payment scheduling and processing. A list of companies for which MyCheckFree processes payments is provided on the website. However, the list is subject to possible changes. 
  • Comenity Easy Pay is a type of way to pay your bill for various merchants/vendors without having to log in with a username and password. You don't even have to have an account registered. It is a secure online bill paying service.

What Are the Costs, Fees, and Processing Times Associated With Bill Pay Software?

Bill payment software fees vary. For instance, Prism is free, but Quicken charges up to $99.99 annually for use of its various tools, including Bill Pay. You must also be aware some apps and banking bill pay services charge transaction fees or special circumstance fees. For instance, Wells Fargo charges up to $14.95 for same-day bill payment. 

Processing times for payments also vary between apps. They are not always determined by the apps themselves. The processors used by the payees and other factors influence transaction speeds. For example, a transaction started after business hours may not begin processing until the following day. On average, payments take two to three business days to process. Although, some apps do offer same-day processing services. Schedule your bill payments a few days ahead of their due dates to avoid possible late payment fees.