Advertisement
credit & debt

Online Bill Paying Isn't Foolproof

Using your bank's bill-payment service is convenient, but the process isn't a slam dunk.

Using your bank’s bill-payment service is convenient: Enter a payee into the system, and the bank transfers funds from your checking account electronically or mails a check. No stamps to buy, no envelopes to address and mail. But the process isn’t a slam dunk.

First, be certain you understand the bank’s definition of the payment date so that your payment arrives on time. “Is it the date the bank is going to begin processing your transaction? Or is it the date your payment will be delivered?” says Justin Jackson, vice-president of integrated payment solutions at financial-technology company Fiserv. Some banks ask you to select the date that the payment must reach the biller, and the system calculates when it needs to initiate the transaction. If the bank prompts you to choose a date to start processing the payment, it may indicate when the biller will receive it. If not, choose a date a week in advance of the due date so that the bank has ample time to send the payment.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Banks also have differing schedules for when they remove money from your account. Wells Fargo, for example, withdraws funds the business day after the date you choose to in­itiate the payment, even if it is mailing a paper check. When Bank of America sends a check, however, the money doesn’t leave your account until the recipient deposits the check. Monitor your balance closely to be sure you have enough in the account when the bank withdraws the money.

Finally, check that you are submitting the correct information. That may seem like a no-brainer, but user errors are common. Customers may, for example, enter their cell number rather than the account number when setting up payments for a smartphone bill. Pull up a recent statement to reference as you enter the details.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About
dividend stocks

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About

Dividend-paying stocks often can be a store of safety, but 2020 has been difficult on income equities. These 11 picks look like shaky plays despite th…
September 21, 2020
Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know
Medicare

Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know

There's Medicare Part A, Part B, Part D, medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans and so on. We sort out the confusion about signing up for Medicare --…
September 16, 2020
Where You Should Invest Now
investing

Where You Should Invest Now

Kiplinger.com senior investing editor Kyle Woodley joins our Your Money's Worth podcast to answer investor questions about tech stocks, the election a…
September 22, 2020

Recommended

High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place
Caregiving

High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place

Apple Watch and other technology provides fast feedback, comfort for older users, and a powerful assist for caregivers.
September 23, 2020
When Is Amazon Prime Day 2020?
spending

When Is Amazon Prime Day 2020?

Circumstances beyond its control have forced Amazon to move its annual Christmas-in-July Amazon Prime Day blowout sale in 2020 to ... later. Is Oct. …
September 22, 2020
A Step-by-Step Guide to Being an Estate Executor
retirement

A Step-by-Step Guide to Being an Estate Executor

Whether you’re planning ahead for your own heirs or have been asked to serve as an executor of an estate for someone else, it pays to understand what …
September 17, 2020
10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement
retirement

10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement

From reading materials to debt, the demands on your savings during your golden years might surprise you.
September 16, 2020