Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Snail-mail vs. electronic payment

Are there bills that you refuse to pay electronically, or am I the only maverick running loose across the range?

These days, I pay all monthly bills by EFTs, except the phone bill. I never trusted Qwest, which in the past was prone to sending incorrect statements full of phantom charges. But because they had been OK for several years and because I no longer make many long-distance calls, I opted to let them engross money from my checking account. That was a mistake—it added even more aggravation to the late, great Qwest saga. So, when I switched to Cox, which after all is just another giant squid of a telecom corporation, I decided to keep its tentacles out of my bank accounts.

Cox’s statement hasn’t arrived this month. It’s usually here by now: last month I wrote a check on the 6th, meaning the bill would have been sitting around the house for several days by then. The bill actually isn’t due for another couple of weeks, but they claim you need to get the payment to them ten days before the announced due date, to ensure it posts on time. So I had to call them on the phone, navigate the infuriating punch-a-button system (is there any question why so many Americans have high blood pressure?), then find out what’s owing and what their mailing address is.

Snail-mail is so passé that the employees don’t even know what the company’s address is. It took the human I finally reached two tries to find what she thinks is the correct accounts receivable P.O. box.

There are some corporations, IMHO, that can’t be trusted. The phone company is one of those: I want to see the bill before there’s even any possibility of money being released. Ditto that for credit cards. I never pay credit-card bills electronically: I do not want Visa or American Express to have any access of any sort to my bank accounts, other than through a check. I want to be able to see and confirm each charge in each billing cycle before sending money.

A credit-union rep once remarked that it’s not a good idea to pay insurance companies electronically, either. I do: long-term care and life insurance premiums are EFTed to the relevant companies. But I don’t pay the annual homeowner’s and auto insurance that way. Too squirrelly: you never know when they’re going to run amok with the premiums, so I want to minimize potential hassle if I decide to switch insurers.

What bills, if any, do you pay the old-fashioned way?

Author: funny

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  1. I am sorry you are having problems with your telephone company….could you switch?

    I pay all of my bills via credit card (for the rewards) and pay those two cards via ING electronic payment.

    I am lucky that my apartment complex allows you pay rent with no fee if you walk into the office with a credit card so I get 1% cash back on my rent.

    I don’t even know what my check book looks like anymore since I use ING online banking for everything.

  2. Phone company. Evil. Cox IS a switch. Soooo much better than Qworst!

  3. My solution to this is to do all my electronic bill pay through my bank. Companies send me a bill, and when I am satisfied that it is correct I log in to my bank’s website and tell them how much to pay. It is perhaps a little more trouble than automatic payments, but as you point out it saves a LOT of trouble when there is a bill dispute. No one gets their hands o my bank account!

  4. Like lulu, I pay most of my bills using a credit card. However, I am completely against automatic bill pay month after month. Once a month I log on and enter payment information for that month’s bill. I can wait until the business day before the bill is due.

    I worry that with automatic bill pay I wouldn’t be able to cancel a payment if I wanted. Plus, it’s harder to dispute discrepancies (and receive refunds when you are right) if the money has already been paid.

  5. This has nothing to do with trust, just small town life. Can’t even snail mail. I have to take my water & gas bills and physically drop them, with their checks, in their respective utility collection boxes in town! I’ll be that trumps everyone! LOL

  6. Wow! I’ll bet they have human beings to deal with the public, too. Retrograde, eh? 😉

  7. Bill Pay is the greatest thing since the ATM and it’s usually free.

    Since I bank with Wells Fargo, I signed up for E-bills. This means I can look at my phone, gas and electric bills right in the WF website. I copy the total from the E-bills to Bill Pay and pull the trigger.

    I pay Citibank through their own website and write down the date and transaction number. I believe CC companies hold onto snail mail to create late fees. (Some have gotten sued for that, so I’m not just making it up.)

    No one takes money directly from my bank account, except for my automatic investments.

  8. I’m really bad about this. I’ve set most things up on auto draft. I know it’s not the safest thing, but the convienence just totally outweights the risk. It may come back to bite me in the backside some day……