Bills are never fun to pay. Besides the hassle of a dwindling bank account,
there are late fees that pop up, the annoyance of having one postage stamp too few and
having to wonder if your check will get there before the due date.
Then came online bill payment.
Like everything related to the Internet, paying bills online is a relatively new idea and has
yet to be perfected, but there are some distinct advantages. You can access information about
your account at any time, receive emails reminding you to pay your bills, schedule automatic
payments for recurring bills and even have the bills sent to the company so you never have to
even see another one in your mailbox.
Of course, there are drawbacks. There are monthly service fees that range between $5- to $10, in
addition to any fees your bank charges for having a checking account. Before signing up for any
service be sure to check out the company's insurance policy. While the site itself is probably not
backed by the FDIC, most sites carry an insurance policy of up to $100,000. Also, before signing up,
download the latest version of your Web browser of choice. Most online bill payment services require
you to have a browser with 128-bit encryption in order to make sure all transactions are secure from
third-parties and hackers.
While most of the online bill paying sites offer similar services, there are some finer nuances between
them, cost being a common one. Scroll through the list of services below to see which one fits your needs.
Yahoo! Bill Pay
Bill paying service from the site that has it all. Choose from a free plan that allows you to pay
vendors from a selected list, or a $4.95 per month plan that allows you to pay 12 bills per month
to anyone you need to. Additional bills are 40 cents each.
One of the largest bill paying sites on the web, PayMyBills.com is partners with E*Trade and Chase Bank
and is backed by Travelers Insurance. Your bills are mailed directly to the site, which then emails you
that you have a new bill to pay, and you can then authorize payment for the amount.
Basic service is $8.95 a month.
After you've brought home the bacon, you'll need to give some out to places like the phone company and
your credit cards. Piggybills does all the basic billpaying services, and it contains articles on how
to keep your debt down, improve your credit and increase the amount of cash in your retirement trough.
You can also snort off your problems on its message boards. Standard service is $8.95 per month.
More than online bill paying, Paytrust offers "complete bill management." Check the status of your
bills, balance your account, even access your account info on the train from a wireless computer.
Basic service begins at $5.95 a month.
The self-proclaimed first site to offer total bill management, StatusFactory.com offers the usual
fare with an interesting twist: a promotional free pager that alerts you when new bills have arrived!
Billcenters.com tries to bring major billing companies like credit cards and utilities into the
online realm of bill paying in order to cut down on cost and waste and to make paying bills simpler
and more efficient for the consumer. Check to see if companies you use are listed.
A confusing name and a confusing but useful service. Epay4itonline is meant for small businesses,
with or without Web sites, that want to be able to accept online payment for products and services.
Epay4itonline acts as an intermediary to help your company get integrated into e-business.
Billpay.tv is yet another place to pay bills, schedule payments and download payment history. $8.95
per month, though the first three months are free.