It may be a cliché to say that you can "do it with the click of a button," but paying bills online really is that simple. Getting started with online bill paying can take a couple of hours as you set up online accounts, but after that, it takes just minutes to pay bills, log payments and get receipts. Often, there are even two choices in how to pay online:
- Pay through a Web site: You can log on to a utility company, Internet provider, mortgage lender, or other Web site and choose to pay through direct withdrawal from bank accounts or with credit or debit cards. Each account will require a separate log in and password and receipts will either come to you through e-mail or will be viewable in your online account log.
- Pay through your online bank account: This differs from going to each creditor's Web site because you can often log account numbers all within your personal bank account and have funds sent directly, either as they are due or at a set time each month.
When paying bills online, it may seem as if there is no way to track money going out and when it gets to the recipient. However, it actually provides two records of payments that act as a "paper trail" without the paper. Your bank will have a record of payments made and when they were deducted from your account, and creditors also will have an electronic record of your payment history. Both records will be accessible and password-protected, and, if you still want a paper receipt, most transactions are printable to paper or to PDF or other electronic file formats.