Question of the Day

How many people use autopay for bills?

I don’t see any great benefit to the consumer when it comes to autopay and refuse to enroll in any. Oh, you mean I get to save a stamp and all I have to do is give a company permission to take money out of my checking account every month and hope that they don’t screw up and overcharge me which may cause other bills to bounce? Yeah, I’ll pass. I kind of like being in complete control of small matters like, you know, MY CHECKING ACCOUNT.

35 Comments

  1. i don’t use it. i do pay electronically, but on my schedule. it’s probably only an illusion, but i like to think i’m in control of a little bit of my own life!

  2. I use autopay for my mortgage and home equity account; wouldn’t use it for anything else, but do still pay all my bills online — saves SO much time.

  3. I have used auto-pay for years, but, only for household utilities. I pay my other bills with online checks. I pay my credit cards on line. I write maybe two or three checks a year by hand.

  4. I use it for anything that needs to be paid in full each month (basically everything except credit cards). When I put my money in the checking account I lost control, so I see no benefit in wasting my time each month paying bills. Starting signing up for anything I could about 15 years ago. Have never had a problem, and if I do, I have recourse.

  5. I also use it- but only associated with my credit card account. If I get overbilled there are more legal protections than if they withdraw from a checking or savings account. I pay all other recurring bills via their website or my bank’s on-demand billpay service.

  6. I have money taken directly from my paycheck for life insurance/AFLAC/401 etc. but I don’t feel like that counts because I never see the money.

    My Rec. Center membership requires automatic withdrawl OR the entire year upfront, I hate it.

    Everything else is paid online, but on my schedule.

  7. I use autopay for my mortgage, and they hit my checking account automatically. However, every other bill I have on autopay goes through my credit cards. Worst case, they hit me for 100x the normal amount, I contest the charge, and the company has weeks to correct it.

    Places like PayPal will NEVER be linked to my checking account.

  8. I try to pay any bills I can using autopay, though I get it billed to my credit card and not my checking account, then at the end of my credit card’s billing cycle, pay that off.

    There are some bills that don’t let me autopay or make it a lot more difficult (go through a third party, no thanks), so I have to pay those with a check, and often times I end up forgetting about it until the due date.

    Granted, these payments are usually never very big (biggest being my cell phone bill). Though, if I could get my rent on autopay, I would.

  9. From what I understand, there’s two types of autopay. One that you give all your checking information to all the companies and they pull the money themselves, or the other, which I use, that the bank knows all the people that I send money to, and I set up a payment schedule.

    My BoA account sends money automatically every month for my rent, internet, car payments…everything that I know is a stable amount of money due. The rest of it I still use the same system, just on a per payment situation.

  10. My patron saint is Our Lady of Perpetually Forgetting to Do Like Fucking Everything, and autopay saves me from having to remember to buy stamps, making sure I have checks, making out the stupid check, and finally sending it on time. It keeps all my utilities on and my credit score unblemished.

    If you’re not a forgetful idiot like me, I can see why it would be unnecessary, but I love it and have never had problems.

  11. In the UK we have te equivilant of autopay and I hate it. Im grown up enough to know when and how to pay my bills, but they put a teaser benifit of a couple pounds for autopay and I can’t resist their carrot.

  12. I used it for a lot of things. Water, sewer, Netflix, power, gas, life insurance. Those things don’t vary too much. The mortgage I pay by check, to make sure I have the money and so I have a paper trail. The credit cards can vary a lot, I like to make sure the amount of cash I need to pay them off is available, and I like to make sure all the charges are valid before I pay it (I do pay online). I have stellar credit.

  13. When you’re forgetful like I am, it’s a godsend. Already tons of bills as it is, and I guess when you have a steady job you don’t worry about overdrawing or anything. Especially nice when you travel and don’t get around to your mail.

  14. I just set up all my bills for autopay this weekend. I would’ve done so sooner but didn’t always immediately have the cash to cover bills at odd times. I’ve never missed a payment, but I pay them all on online anyway, so why not? Plus, I keep a pretty close eye on my account; I like to think I’d notice right away if something were amiss.

  15. I use autopay for Netflix because you have to; other than that, I use bill pay through my bank. I have to type in the amounts and hit send, which gives me some semblance of control and saves a ton on postage. It does make paying bills much more convenient.

  16. I used to use it but did have have a problem and it was, as Dave said, a freaking nightmare so I no longer use it. I just pay bills online, haven’t written a check in like two years.

  17. I autopay for my smaller monthly bills, and I do it with my credit card, not my checking account. That way I get to keep control of my bank accounts, I get flyer miles, and if someone screws up Almighty VISA is on my side. Though I am convinced that AT&T just makes the numbers up every month anyway.

  18. I use autopay when I can, although pretty much every bill that can go on a credit card is paid that way. I get rewards points, pay off the credit card at the end of the month, and don’t risk being overdrafted. If I am ever overcharged (hasn’t happened yet), putting it on credit will give me some time to sort things out.

  19. I use a combination – for things like Lynda.com, my web hosting, Netflix I use autopay.

    Everything else comes directly from my checking account and I schedule it every month (I get paid once a month which is so nice – I can get all my bills paid in one swoop and I don’t have to think about anything else for the rest of the month).

    Since I have started using this my ability to manage my money has improved beyond belief. I used to be a chronic check bouncer, now I always have extra money in the bank!

    I love it!

  20. I see businesses benefiting by auto pay, and not the individual. Until they offer a discount or something I will pay using online banking.

  21. My business uses auto pay – saves a LOT of A/P time when you have 30 retail locations.

    For personal matters, I use bill pay – I get to schedule the payment and save the stamp.

    I haven’t used a stamp in about 10 years.

  22. I use my banks bill pay which is free to use because I have direct deposit so it’s sort of the reverse. For bills that are the same every month, like my mortgage, I set up a recurring payment through the bill pay. And for bills that can be paid by credit card, such as my mobile phone and cable/internet, I choose that option. To be clear I never carry a CC balance and this way I’m earning cashback points. I hand write one check a month and that goes to my condo association.

    I say if your bank offers a bill pay option consider it. Any issues fall squarely on them. I had a couple problems at the beginning years ago where my CC wasn’t paid on time so I was being charged interest. My bank cleared it up and paid any fees.

  23. When my husband was alive, we had our mortgage payment on autopay. Nowadays, being much poorer, I have to juggle my money enough that I don’t use autopay for anything. I do, however, use online bill payment, both via my bank and on the websites of the billing companies (phone, electric, insurance, etc.). The only checks I write are for my apartment and storage unit rent; I want to make sure they have my money in their hot lil hands on time, because the late fees are exorbitant.

  24. All utilities and loans. Very convenient.

    What pissed me off was the last car loan. The dealer did the loan shopping and 5/3 Bank got it by a few points.

    “Can I do autopay?”
    “Yes. The bank will send you information to get it started.”

    Long story short, they wanted 30 cents service fee for each month’s automatic withdrawal. A piddly amount to be sure (and cheaper than the stamp), but enough to have made a difference in which bank I chose based on the quoted loan rate.

    What’s most annoying is that it’s got to be saving 5/3 to be doing it automatically, but yet they charge me a fee for the “service”.

    And the $0.30 shows up as a separate line item on my checking statement.

    Won’t be using 5/3 again.

  25. I’m surprised to see only one other person admitted to level of broke as the reason for not setting up autopay.

    When you live pay check to pay check, sometimes paying a bill late is the least of your troubles. The only bill I refuse to fudge is rent. Who needs landlord drama? Whichever paycheck is right before rent is due pays it with a smidge extra.

    When things go smooth, I pay my other two bills, cable company for phone, tv, and internet and car insurance online and on time. But kinks in the budget happen – my car is 21 years old, had pneumonia in February, had hour cutbacks at work earlier this year. After working in customer care for a cell phone company for three years, I’ve lost my shame in asking for a payment arrangement to keep service on when I need it.

    If the money isn’t there, autopay would cause more problems then it solves. In fact, I’ve opted out of owning a checking account. I get direct deposit to a prepaid Visa. Unlike a bank, they just deny the transaction instead of letting you run yourself into a hole with a debit card so they can charge overdraft fees. Most banks won’t even let you opt out of the “service.”

    My dream is to be able to get far enough ahead of my bills that I’m spending money I made last month, leaving a margin for error. A mistake in autopay wouldn’t mean I was shot for grocery money until it was fixed. I’d avoid late fees. I’d have a better credit rating. For now, it’s only a dream. Like so many Americans, I’m doing the best I can with the cards I’ve been dealt.

  26. My bank is Chase, and I have my account set to send out checks on a schedule – but I have control and can nudge dates each month to suit my situation….

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