Managing bills online is simple, fast, and secure. Payments can be scheduled in minutes and you’ll never have to worry about running out of stamps. Depending on your specific needs, there are lots of different services available to help you manage your bills online. Many free options are available through banks and vendors, and there are also paid service available for people who want the ultimate in convenience.
Determine if your bank offers online bill pay services.
Many banks, both large and small, offer online bill pay services. Call your bank or visit their website to find out what services they offer.
Check out bank alternatives.
If you don’t have a checking account, you can still pay your bills online from a central website. All you have to do is sign up for a prepaid debit card that acts as an alternative to a checking account, such as the American Express Bluebird card. Once you have an account, you can pay your bills online using the service’s website exactly the same way that you would use a bank’s website.
Find out if there is a fee.
Some banks offer free online bill payment services to customers who hold a checking account with them, while others charge a small fee. Make sure to find out if there is a cost associated with using the service before you get started.
In many cases, banks will waive their fees if you meet certain criteria. If, for example, you maintain a certain minimum balance in your checking account, you may be offered the perk of paying your bills online for free.
Register for an online account.
Before you can begin paying bills online, you will need to register for an online account. In order to do this, you must have already opened a bank account and you must be able to verify your identity. You will also be required to create a user name and password, which you will use every time you log in to your account.
You may be asked to provide information like your name, date of birth, social security number, and bank account number when creating your account. This information is needed so that the bank can be sure it is the owner of the bank account who is registering for the online account.
Most banks have customer support numbers that you can call if you are having a problem registering for an account online.
Some banks may offer to help you set up your online account at a branch, especially if you are opening a new account.
Add a payee.
Once your online account is set up, you need to add payees to your account. A payee is simply a vendor who you agree to pay by using your online bank account. Each bank’s website is configured differently, but you should see an option that says something like “pay bills” in the main navigation. You should then see an option to “add payee” or “manage payees.”
When adding a payee, you will have to provide the name and address of the company as it appears on your bill. In some cases, you will only be asked to provide partial information because the bank will be able to recognize it and fill in the rest. If the bank does not recognize your payee’s information, you will need to enter the complete address.
You will also be prompted to enter your account number with the vendor, if you have one. Make sure you double check the accuracy of your account number.
Some vendors may accept electronic payments from your bank, while others may not. If your payee does not accept electronic payments, you can still make the payment online, but your bank will send the vendor a paper check on your behalf. This take a few days longer than electronic payments, so keep this in mind when scheduling your payments.
Make a payment.
After you have added a payee to your account, you can begin paying them. You should see an option that says something like “make a payment” or “pay now.” You will then be prompted to enter the amount of your payment and the date you would like to send your payment.
When making an online payment, you can typically include a brief memo to the vendor. This is especially helpful if you do not have an account number with the vendor. If you do have an account number, you do not need to include it in the memo because you bank will automatically include that information with the payment.
You can make a one-time payment or you can choose to make a recurring payment. If, for example, you pay the same amount to your mortgage lender or your cable company every month, you can choose to automatically send that amount to the vendor on a specific day of each month.
Try your bank’s mobile app.
If you want even more convenience, you can test out your bank’s mobile app, which will allow you to pay bills right from your smartphone or other mobile device. Simply download the app and use the same login information you use on the bank’s website to log in.
Some apps are more user friendly than others. If you’re shopping for a bank, you may want to read reviews on their mobile apps.
Not all banks have mobile apps, but even if yours doesn’t, you can still pay bills on a mobile device by simply visiting their website.
Find out if the company offers online bill payment services.
Not all companies offer an online bill payment option, but many larger companies do. Call the company directly or visit their website to find out what bill payment options they offer.
If you enjoy the convenience of being able to view and pay your bill all in one place, then you might prefer paying your bills directly on the vendor’s website as opposed to on your bank’s website. You can’t see your bills on your bank’s website (except for credit cards and loans issued through the bank).
The downside of paying bills through the vendor’s website is that you need to create multiple accounts and log on to a different site to pay each bill.
Register for an account on their website.
You will have to register for an account on your vendor’s website, just like you would for an account on your bank’s website. You will probably be required to provide an account number, so it’s a good idea to have a bill in front of you while you create your account.
If you are creating multiple online accounts to pay bills, you shouldn’t use the same username and password for each account. Come up with a unique, secure password for each site.
View your bill online.
When you have an account on your vendor’s website, you typically have access to both current and past bills, so you can easily keep track of your expenses. While each website is different you should see a link that says something like “view bill.”
Depending on the vendor, you may have different options for viewing your bill. Some vendors will continue to send you a paper bill, even if you pay your bills online, while others will give you the option of receiving your bill by email.
Make a one-time payment.
When you pay your bill through a vendor’s website, you will be required to enter a credit or debit card number. Prepaid debit cards are also accepted. You should see a link that says “pay bill.” Once you click it, simply enter your card information and submit your payment.
Depending on the vendor, you may have the option to pay the statement balance of your bill, the minimum payment, or a custom amount.
Some vendors may also give you the option to store your credit card information so you don’t have to enter it each time you make a payment.
Sign up for automatic withdrawals.
If you don’t want to have to worry about remembering to pay your bills each month, you can easily automate them by requesting an electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a checking account or an automatic charge to your credit card.
Make sure you ask the provider if there is a cost for this service. It’s also very important to make sure you always have enough money in your account to cover the charges, or you may be subject to a fee.
When requesting an EFT, you will need to provide the vendor with your complete bank account information, including the routing number. This can be found on your checks.
If your bill is not the same each month, it will be more convenient for you to set up an automatic payment through the vendor instead of trying to do it through your bank. With the vendor, you can simply request that the amount owed be automatically charged to your card or deducted from your account each month, while you need to provide an exact dollar amount to the bank.
Don’t forget to alert the vendor if your credit card number changes.
Use an online money wiring service.
If you can’t pay your bills through a bank or vendor website, you can send bill payments through money wiring services like Western Union. There is a fee associated with this kind of service, which will typically vary depending on where you are sending money and how much you are sending.
You will need to create an account with the money wiring service before beginning. These services also offer you the option to pay over the phone or at one of their store locations.
Pay using a digital wallet service.
Another option for paying bills online is to use a third party service, like PayPal or Apple Pay. These services allow you to pay using your existing credit cards and checking accounts, but without providing your account numbers to vendors. For each service, you will need to create an account and link your bank accounts and/or credit cards.
Not all vendors offer the option to pay with PayPal or similar services, but if they do, you can simply click on the link and log in to your digital wallet account to complete your transaction.
You can also apply for a free PayPal debit card, which you can use to pay bills online just as you would use any other card.
Apple Pay also limits you to participating vendors. When you find one, simply use Touch ID to complete your transaction.
Consider a complete online bill management service.
If you want to be able to see and pay all of your bills in one place, an online bill management service like eBillPay or PayTrust might be the right choice for you. These services collect and scan all of your bills so you can view them all online as well as pay them all through a single website.
The funds will be drawn from a checking or money-market account. You will have to provide the company with a voided check to authorize deductions.
The fee for these services varies by provider, so do your research to find the best option for you.