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Tom and Rafe don't pay bills online?

by FredAgain / August 25, 2007 1:02 AM PDT

I've got to say I was very disappointed and surprised to hear Tom and Rafe say that they would not pay bills online. I'm shocked that such people who claim to be cutting edge, early adopter, tech-savvy people, still don't believe in paying their bills online. I'm hardly an early adopter but I have been paying my bills online (when possible) for over 10 years now without incident. It sort of sounds like having a doctor who doesn't believe in vaccines for his own family or a Ford dealer who only buys Chevy's.

Come on Tom and Rafe, come into the 21st century! Happy

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Well...
by Magishine / August 25, 2007 6:00 AM PDT

Some people might prefer getting paper bills and paying them the old way. My wife and I get our bills in the mail and then we pay them online. We're not quite ready to go paper free yet. Mostly because of spam filters (My gmail Spam filter easily hits 725 or so in a day) Also, we don't have a printer at the moment, so paper bills are good for record keeping.

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"This is not spam"
by thriftyT / August 25, 2007 9:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Well...

I agree that the initial e-mail from Citibank, Bank of America, or whoever might get sent to the spam box, but isn't there a way to mark e-mail as "not spam"?

Thereafter, your notifications will always appear in your inbox.

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Agreed
by Renegade Knight / August 27, 2007 1:01 PM PDT
In reply to: Well...

When they can send me an email bill that won't get filtered, won't be visible to anyone but me etc. I'll wait and see if it really works. Then I'll give up the paper bill.

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oh?
by Zombie Bender / August 25, 2007 6:02 AM PDT

Maybe I misunderstood, I thought they paid them online just didn't *receive* the bills online. I like getting the paper copy as well.

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present day old school...
by shawnlin / August 25, 2007 9:07 AM PDT

the financial industry (as well as the world of law) has usually always been a "in writing, on paper you can hold" industry. I guess there's A LOT of ways to argue for/against paying bills online. For me...I don't find the reasons compelling enough for me to remember yet another login/password combo that I'll use once or twice a month...maybe I'm just old school.

Actually, I like the idea of having your credit card automatically charged for utilities, etc. and just getting an e-mail from said utility, etc. company. That way, there's a gate between the company and your bank - that directly line between the company and your bank accont...no thank you sir! ya know?

Best,
Shalin

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Ok, now you're THE luddite =)
by thriftyT / August 25, 2007 9:31 AM PDT

There are several ways to pay bills online. These days, any bank worth their salt has a bill-pay system. With my bank, I've set up a list of "payees" which range from major entities (Comcast, credit card companies,etc) to individuals (Joe the lawnmower, my friend Brad). They wire money directly to major companies, and print/mail paper checks to anyone else.

I write about one paper check everyother month and I don't quite know what to do with my postage stamps anymore.

As for filing statements from banks, credit cards and utilities?

Pull up the statement on a web browser -> save as PDF.

This allows content of your credit card statements to become instantly searchable(How much did you spend at Amazon last month? Just type "Amazon" into your computer's search field).

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Stamps? Whassat?
by BetterAnnaMac / August 26, 2007 7:10 AM PDT

Twice now I've bought a book of stamps and used maybe two and then the postage rates change on me. And neither time did I buy the books very near the change date. I just don't use them. It BOTHERS me to have to mail anything. Heck, even photos to Nana and Papa get uploaded and printed directly at their Walmart and then I email them to pick them up. I LOVE my bank's web bill pay. Daycare is on there, all my credit card companies... I write checks only very slightly more often than I use stamps. And if I get a check, I use my bank's deposit at home service and scan the check to deposit into my bank. All that, and I still get paper bills, though. Even though I check everything online that doesn't automatically download into my finance software. Hmm... I should start saving some trees...

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You misheard them
by mikeburek / August 26, 2007 9:53 AM PDT

They said they don't RECEIVE e-mail only STATEMENTS. They didn't mention anything about PAYING their BILLS.

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I really think they did
by FredAgain / August 26, 2007 11:47 AM PDT
In reply to: You misheard them

Rafe said that automatic Bill pay "scares the heck" out of him; and Tom concurred and stated that he does not do it either.

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OK
by FredAgain / August 26, 2007 11:49 AM PDT

so it wasn't that they don't "pay online", just that they don't use "auto bill-pay". It still surprises me.

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Great until...
by mikeburek / August 26, 2007 12:50 PM PDT
In reply to: OK

Sure, it's great until something bad happens to you or to someone you know.

Because of the way electronic bill pay does not protect the consumer, if there is a mistake, it can cause lots of problems. Whereas there are protections when a bad charge is put on your credit card, bank are another story. Not only is it an inconvenience, but you can't pay your rent/mortgage/car loan when your money is "in limbo."

Ideally, it's a great idea, but the risk is high.

If the thing in question were paying bills by check as opposed to online, I would agree with you. But like driving 100 mph without a seatbelt - sure most of the time you'll be ok, but why take that extremely extra risk?

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It surprises me that people trust auto-pay
by Nicholas Buenk / August 27, 2007 12:54 AM PDT
In reply to: OK

After all, someone make a typo and maybe you end up paying a thousand rather than a hundred. Wink

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This is my personal subject title
by abdmal9 / August 26, 2007 9:44 PM PDT

They said they dont like to go PAPERLESS.

they also said they dont like auto-payments.

They didnt say anything about not paying bills online.

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I can confirm that
by acedtect / August 27, 2007 9:31 AM PDT

I do go paperless on some bills, not all.

I do NOT use auto-pay for almost anything. Takes my leverage away. Don't like it.

I pay all my bills online except one, and that's the one that doesn't let you pay online. Now THAT'S backwards.

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And that....
by Magishine / August 28, 2007 1:50 AM PDT
In reply to: I can confirm that

...is exactly why people don't use auto pay. It's way to risky. Especially with some corrupt people out there.

When you agree to auto-pay, you're basically agreeing to pay whatever charges your account may incur without being notified of them.

Not being notified of charges....does that make you feel better about it?

A quick fix that would ease my mind would be to combine the two. Sign up for auto-pay, but then the company should send out an e-mail before your charged for anything. Then if everything is all good, you can click a link to pay the bill. That way you have the security of a bill but the ease of use of auto-pay.

Just a thought

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what about conflict resolution?
by robstak / August 27, 2007 12:53 AM PDT

if you pay your bills automatically you lose that bargaining chip, no? I don't pay online any bill that varies... but my car and mortgage I do because they dont vary...

anyone else with me? or maybe im wrong?
-karl

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EFT vs Credit Card
by mikeburek / August 27, 2007 1:10 AM PDT

If you were to pay your bills using your credit card vs using your bank account (debit card), you would have more rights and protections with the credit cards. At least when a charge appears on your credit card, that's still a type a "virtual money," until you actually pay it with real money. But if you pay with your debit card or EFT, that is real money, and it's hard to get back. It can be done, but it takes a long time.

That's why when people were still signing up for AOL left and right, it was recommended to use a credit card and not the online checking (what EFT used to be commonly know as). Sometimes AOL continued to charge you after you terminated your service with them (remember those days - wonder why AOL isn't America's favorite anymore). If they took money from your bank account, there was no incentive for your bank to fight for you to get the money back - they make money from fees and loans. If they charged your credit card and you made a formal written dispute, then that money would go to AOL and you would not have to pay for it, meaning the credit card company would lose that money themselves, so the credit card company would fight for that money because they had a personal interest in it.

If you listen to one show of Clark Howard, or check out consumer's rights pages, you will probably run into many people that find this out the hard way, when ethically, it shouldn't happen, but legally it does.

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Banks just want everyone to use a credit card...
by Nicholas Buenk / August 27, 2007 1:12 AM PDT
In reply to: EFT vs Credit Card

They get the interest don't they! They aren't really motivated to make EFT better..
*grumbles*

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I pay all of my bills by auto-debit, but still get the paper
by Vance14 / August 27, 2007 2:55 AM PDT

I have been paying ALL of my monthly bills, from insurance to my electric bill, by automatic debit for years. I don't right a single check, or even THINK about my monthly bills getting paid. I do check the bills when the come (which is before the debit) to make sure the amount they will take out is correct, but then I can toss it and forget about it. Here are the bills that get paid without a lift of a finger:

Mortgage
Student loan
Natural Gas
Electricity
Car and home and life insurances
Cable
My gym
Telephone
A couple of "dues" type payments annually, like AAA
Car payment

I have not had to do anything to pay any of these in years and there has never been a problem.

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Someday, me too
by mikeburek / August 27, 2007 11:25 AM PDT

Hopefully, someday it will be reliable enough that many more people feel safe doing the autopay. Yes, it is still the responsibility of the person to check their bill and not just blindly pay it. Don't want to call for government rules, so hopefully some company will take that leap of faith and care for their customers. Then the market will follow.

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Hope for the best, plan for the worst
by milkky / August 27, 2007 11:42 PM PDT

Everything works until it breaks--just because my car has run without problems for x years, I would be head-in-the-sand to decide that it will always do so. See yesterday's story about MS saying there would never be any problems with Windows Advantage giving false positives--it sounded unreaslistic when they said it and we just saw the proof.

I want to be in the loop--approving the payment before it gets made, just in case of a messup. I think the points about paying from the redit cards and and letting set payments like mortgages be automatic are good--I have some of those being done automatically myself.

You know, it's been quite awhile since I did the math, but I know that the last time I compared the bank's transaction fees etc, it was cheaper to pay for the stamps unless you had more than something like 10 automatic payments. Doea anyone use PayPal's payment system? I don't think there's a charge for that is there?

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I do pay bills online
by rafe CNET staff / August 29, 2007 9:15 AM PDT

Hang on. I pay all my bills online (Quicken). But I like to GET them on paper.

-Rafe

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I pay online, no paper statements...
by raygun01 / August 29, 2007 9:52 AM PDT

I hate all the mail. I have automatic payments and transfers set up between my accounts. I am sent an email a few days in advance of everything warning me of the impending transfer and amount. If the amount seems kosher, then all is good.

Since I have switched to full automation, I can't even begin to tell you how clear my brain feels. Keeping it all straight hurt my brain too much. This is so much nicer. Happy

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I...
by Nicholas Buenk / September 10, 2010 9:13 AM PDT

Don't even know how you'd go about paying a bill without the Internet....

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