Bill Pay the Easy Way
The responsibilities that come with being an adult, like bills, aren't always fun. But they can be easy. Especially with the help of eBill Pay or online bill pay technology. eBill Pay is available through most banks and financial institutions, usually as a feature of an online checking account. It allows you to pay bills online and automatically debits your account without you having to write a check and mail it. A bank will pay your payees in one of two ways. They will either print a check and mail it on your behalf or they will transfer the funds electronically to your payees' accounts.
When you open a student checking account, be sure to ask about online banking options and whether or not online bill pay is an option. Visit the Student Finance Domain student checking account section if you need help deciding which account is right for you. From there setting up your online bill pay account is a simple and straightforward process. The first thing you'll need is a copy of your most recent bill for all of your payees. Then you should log into your online checking account and find the eBill Pay section which may be labeled in a variety of different ways (i.e. eBill Pay, Bill Pay, Pay Bills Online, Online Bill Pay, etc.) depending on your bank. The next step you'll take is to add payees. Typically you will be required to enter in a payee's name, address and other contact information along with your unique account number. Many times a payee will already be listed in your bank's system, especially if it's a nationally known credit card company or retailer.
Once you have set up your payees in your online bill pay account, you're ready to pay your bills. There are a couple different ways you can pay bills online. The first is called a one-time payment and it's the most common way to pay bills, especially for college students. To make a one-time payment you simply log into your account each time you want to pay a bill and then indicate how much you want the bank to pay your payee. Your bank will pay your payee that exact amount you indicate for that one time only. This method to pay bills online is most useful for those bills whose amounts will vary each month.
The second way to pay bills online is to set up a recurring monthly payment. This is a great feature for those bills that are the same amount each month, like student auto loans or student insurance. Recurring monthly payments will be paid by your bank once per month in the amount you indicate in advance. This can prevent you from making delinquent or late payments, no matter how busy you are studying.
Setting up recurring monthly payments also has disadvantages, which may affect the average college student. If your income is irregular, you might experience a situation where your account is debited for the amount you indicate every single month, but you don't have enough funds to cover the payment. This will cause you to bounce a check and you'll be fined by your bank and most likely your payee for insufficient funds (ISF). It can also damage your credit, which you should be making an effort to build at this point in life.
One final thing you should know about online bill pay is that it is not instant. Most times there is a lag between the time you key in your payment and the time your payment is processed. This might be anywhere from a day to a week, depending on your bank. For more information about payment processing, check with your bank or financial institution.