Epunchng - Most read newspaper in Nigeria Wednesday November 15 2017 - Page 8

banking 8 WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2017 personal 09055512063 (sms only) With Nike Popoola Personalbanking@punchng.com How to enjoy banks’ automatic bill payment plans M ost of us are always on the lookout for ways to cut the amount of time we spend on mundane chores. One of the ways online banking has helped to free up our time is through the advent of automatic bill payment plans. You can set up automatic payment plans for utility, entertainment, household bills, among others. In fact, almost any vendor you purchase goods or services from now offers automatic payment plans, according to www.moneycrashers.com. With an automatic payment plan, the monthly bill is recurrently charged to your credit card or debited from your bank account on a pre-set date every month without you having to do a thing. It makes life easier knowing that bills are paid on time and in full each month. But while there are definite advantages to signing up for automatic payment plans, there are drawbacks as well. Thoroughly consider the pros and cons and how they could affect your lifestyle before signing up. Advantages of automatic payment plans Automatic payment plans have grown in popularity over the years as a result of many of the conveniences and advantages they offer. Convenience: By setting all your bills to be paid automatically, you’re not as pressured to keep track of what needs to be paid when or paying them on time. Once an automatic payment plan is established, your bank or credit card will handle the rest. Environmental issues: By eliminating paper bills and cheque writing, you reduce your impact on the environment. Not only do you save paper and trees, but you eliminate the carbon footprint left by snail mail. Plus, you don’t have to buy and keep on-hand a constant supply of stamps. Less chance of identity theft: If your bills are not mailed to your home and you are not mailing in paper payments with credit card or bank account numbers, you reduce your risk of identity theft. There are risks when paying online as well, but the security surrounding these payments is typically far greater than the security offered by an unlocked mailbox. Saves money: Since you will no longer have to pay for cheques, stamps, envelopes, or fuel for trips to the post office, having your bills paid automatically saves you money too! Setting up automatic bill payment U sing automatic payments allows you to pay your bills on auto-pilot. You don’t have to sit down and write out cheques to your creditors each month, and you don’t even have to log into your various online accounts to pay your bills online, either. When set up correctly, automatic payments will simply pay your bills at the frequency you indicate, with no further action required on your part, according to www. wisebread.com. There are two basic methods for setting up automatic payments: through your own bank or through each individual creditor’s website. Here is what you need to know. Automatic payment options through a bank’s online bill payment Most banks offer online bill payment. This allows account holders to send money from their current or savings accounts to whoever they want, at whatever frequency they want. Some banks physically print cheques and mail them to your creditors, while others will transfer money electronically. You can set up your automatic payments by logging in to your bank’s bill pay website, setting up a new payee, and entering the account number of the creditor or utility you want to pay in the appropriate fields. Most banks allow you to set up recurring payment frequencies — which means you can schedule your credit card payments, for example, to send each month before they are due and not have to worry about sending the payment on time. Some banks will not allow you to create recurring payments, in which case you will still need to sit down at the computer every time you need