Why Online and Automated Payments Make me Smile

My Journey out of Debt

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Why Online and Automated Payments Make me Smile

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Why Online and Automated Payments Make me Smile I will admit this is a topic that I truly enjoy. I am a strong advocate of online billing, automatic investment, and debiting for essential monthly expenditures. I use an automatic debit facility for my home mortgage payment, car loan, and mutual fund investment. These bills are debited from my checking account on a designated day, on a monthly basis. I have earmarked these debits into my monthly cash flow analysis spreadsheet. I can pencil them in on my checkbook register on a consistent basis.

For all other items, like utility bills, auto insurance, student loan payments, cable service, and telephone, I have online accounts set up with the respective entity's internet web-based portals and pay them using their platform. I schedule the payments around my employer's payroll direct deposit dates to my checking account. This ensures none of my payments "bounce." My bank treats debits just like checks and charges a fee for any transaction deemed insufficient. It is critical to know the timing (float) regarding your bank and the entity or merchant who is receiving the funds. Some entities, like the phone company, take at least two days to process payments, while cable providers and utility companies seem to facilitate transactions overnight. Your payment will "post" or debit from your account the following day after processing the online transaction. It is important to know these things to keep your checking account balanced. Balancing a checkbook has become almost an extinct experience for many people.

Automating your bill payments and savings is a much cleaner process since you will not have to use stamps and mail bills at the post office. I understand online bill payment and savings programs have lessened the US Postal Service's revenues but it has made these transactions safer and absolutely more convenient.

When making an online payment, you must look at the upper left corner of the screen to assure the website has "https" before the domain. This stands for "Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure." It assures that the site is protected against fraudulent hackers and penetration by viruses that could disrupt your laptop or wireless device from functioning.

According to the web-based information source Wikipedia, "Technically, it is not a protocol in itself; rather, it is the result of simply layering the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) on top of the SSL/TLS protocol, thus adding the security capabilities of SSL/TLS to standard HTTP communications. In its popular deployment on the internet, HTTPS provides authentication of the web site and associated web server that one is communicating with, which protects against Man-in-the-middle attacks. Additionally, it provides bidirectional encryption of communications between a client and server, which protects against eavesdropping and tampering with and/or forging the contents of the communication.[1] In practice, this provides a reasonable guarantee that one is communicating with precisely the web site that one intended to communicate with (as opposed to an impostor), as well as ensuring that the contents of communications between the user and site cannot be read or forged by any third party."

By simply verifying the web site you are using to pay bills is an https site, you can eliminate a significant amount of trouble and worry about online transactions. It is difficult enough when attempting to pay bills on time and sticking to a much needed savings plan. It is much more worrisome when you are unsure whether your personal financial information has been breached and is now floating around in cyberspace.

One of the other cool things about online bill payments is many companies now offer discounts for going paperless and paying online. I am not sure about any of you, but I can always use a 10% or 15% discount. That is more money staying in my pocket.

In addition, once you have completed an online transaction, you usually receive an email confirmation with all of the pertinent information regarding the transaction. A customer service telephone number is usually provided in case you need internet/online assistance with the web-based portal or simply prefer talking to a human being. These personnel are there to help guide you through any internet-based question(s).

As I stated at the very beginning, this is a favorite topic of mine. I realize my words are small but the advantages of using online/automatic debit bill payment are huge. Try it; I am sure you will like it!

Joe Thompson, Debt Management Graduate with the Providers of CareOne Debt Relief ServicesJoe Thompson

Joe Thompson has been a Debt Management Plan (DMP) customer with CareOne Debt Relief Services since September 2008 and recently graduated to become debt-free!! Joe Thompson is active in many non-profit areas including; acting as Site Director for I.S. 8 NIKE Youth Basketball and has served as a mentor to many young inner city youths. As a hobby, Joe is a high school and college basketball referee in the New Jersey tri state area. Having officially completed the Debt Management Plan, Joe Thompson is excited to share what his experience on the DMP was like as well as what made his experience a successful one. Look for more posts under the My Journey out of Debt blog. Compensated CareOne Debt Relief Services Blogger.

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  • Let is be honest, there is no such thing as "automatic investment". You can delegate your finance investing to a fund, but having investment decisions made for you is not possible.

  • I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I’m quite sure I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  • Automatic payments ROCK.   Power, Rent, Insurance, Etc.   Just do it.  It makes your life so so much easier.  THanks for the post Joe.

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