Thursday, March 28, 2002
More Bang for Your Buck: Direct Payment
The hassle of paying bills. Do you have stamps? How about enough checks? But it doesn't have to be a hassle anymore.
Nanette Caraballo says, "This way it's one shot you know you sit down once a month and you post your payment."
Nanette pays her bills online using direct payment -- which automatically deducts the payment from her bank account.
Most of my bills are paid online including my car payments, credit cards, department store cards, car insurance, says Nanette.
She just logs on -- posts the dates she wants the bills paid -- and it's all taken care of.
No checks and no stamps -- which means she saves cash!
I think I save probably about 20 to 25 dollars a month says Nanette.
So how does it work?
First -- find out if your bank and the companies you do business with offer the service.
If they do -- you can sign up online or send them a voided check so they can link your bill with your bank account.
Then you still have choices on how your bills are paid.
Gwynn Virostek of Washington Mutual says, "You can do it 2 ways -- you can set that up as a recurring payment so it will happen on the same day every month."
Or if it's a payment that varies month to month -- like a phone bill -- you go in each month and pay the bill.
Gwynn says, "Most of the companies will still continue to send you a monthly bill and so you can go in and make a modification to the amount that your paying every month."
And there are some important questions you should ask -- like is there a monthly fee for the service?
Or do you have to pay for each transaction?
Fees vary from bank to bank.
If you have never paid bills like this before -- start off slowly.
Try it with a couple of bills and see how you like it.
You never know -- soon you may be saving time and money.
(Copyright 2002 by the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)