When you think of online bill payments, you probably imagine setting up automatic drafts from a bank account to pay your cable or utility bills. But people are increasingly opting to bay bills online with their credit cards. More and more merchants are accepting credit cards as online payment, so if you want to use plastic to pay your bills -- even rent or mortgage -- chances are you'll be able to do it.
No bones about it: Online bill payment is faster and easier than the check-and-stamp method. Basically, it eliminates the procrastination factor. There are no paper bills to leave on the counter until you suddenly remember that it's two days past their due date. You can set up monthly payments through your bank or the biller and never pay a late fee again. If you go online to pay the bill every month instead of doing automatic payments, that's still going to save you time, frustration and stamps. Even if you wait until the last minute to pay online, you save precious days since online transactions typically process much faster than mailed ones.
There's always the threat of hacking, spyware and viruses when you're online, of course (automated payments lessen your risk of these), but the risk of mail theft is also significant. The fewer paper statements, checks and personal information you let physically float through the mail, the better. And when you pay bills online, you also have more recourse if there's a dispute since you can look up records of pay dates and amounts.
So contrary to the once-popular belief, online bill payment is safer than snail mail, and there are added safeguards when you use a credit card to pay your bills.