Online bill pay is supposed to be convenient, and don’t get me wrong, it is. BUT-I wonder if I am the only one still trying to figure out when to arrange to pay bills, at least when using online bill pay. What’s most frustrating is, it doesn’t seem like much has been done to make online bill payment much easier in terms of figuring out when payments need to be scheduled on the payor’s end and then figuring out when the payments actually clear with the payee. Basically, online bill pay seems to only have substituted the need to take out paper checks and the roll of stamps. It should be much better than that.
I recently opened up an account with a local credit union, and made my first online bill payment for a credit card bill last month. I arranged for the bill payment to take place on the due date, which is how I had arranged for payment through my other bank account. Much to my surprise, when I receive my current month’s statement for the credit card, there was a $25 late fee assessed. The payment wasn’t “received” by the credit card company until the following day. (The payment dates were business days)
Of course there are a number of irritating issues that arise from this:
1. That all electronic transfers posted from one’s financial institution to a payee (here, the credit card company) isn’t “immediate.” (save this topic for another blog)
2. That the period of time differed so widely for the payment to clear between my new credit union and my other bank.
3. That the disclosures on the number of days to clear a payment with my do not make it simple enough to understand when to schedule a payment. My bank states “Earliest Date of Delivery” when I schedule a delivery date–so I know a payment would arrive in time.
Of course, there are a number of alternatives cropping up right now to replace a financial institution’s bill payment service, but ultimately, a bank or credit union’s online bill payment service should be easier and most straightforward.
This marks the end of my online bill payment rant. What better solutions have you found?