Saturday, October 31, 2009

Paying Bills On-line

Everyone has to pay bills: cable, utilities, mortgage, insurance, etc.  But, are you maximizing your return on paying your bills?  If you are simply just paying these bills by writing a check, you are missing out an opportunity to earn points, miles, or cash back. 

Do this: look up your bill provider's webpage and see if the option exists to pay your monthly's on-line, with your checking account or credit card.  Chances are, the option exists.  This will not only save you time but postage, envelopes, and address labels, too.  Even better, see if you can pay these bills using your points-earning credit card.  If you are going to be spending the money, you might as well get something for it.  Not only can you get something for your bills, but you can also have better peace of mind that your utilities and other companies don't have direct access to your checking account.  The only company of mine that does is my mortgage company.  When you give out your checking account number, it's much more complicated to get your money back in the case of fraud, or double-billings.  It's generally pretty easy to get your money back from credit card companies, in my experience.  They simply remove the item from your statement as opposed to your bank putting the money back. 

Paying bills via your credit card also helps with accounting at year end, particularly if you have bought something that was eventually donated.  It also helps you track where your money is being spent.