I'm admittedly a little ashamed to admit that nearly all of my banking and bill pay is done online at this point. On one hand, I see the environmentally friendly aspect of this option, as it uses far less paper, but on the other, I recognize that if my internet ever failed, I'd be, to put it frankly, screwed. I am quite certain I'm not the only one too. Though there is one online convenience method I'll never use-automatic bill withdraw. This is a service were you can pre-schedule payments with your bank or credit card company to automatically take payments as they become due. Based on my own personal experience as an American with debts, I'd say this is a risky choice to opt for.
Payments aren't always the same
While for the most part I can tell you the average range of every bill I have, I can also say over the years every single one has at some point experienced an unexpected jump in total. To name a few reasons your bill may not be what you expect: the increase could be an error, a policy change you are unaware of, extra fees you didn't count on, or even fraudulent charges. If you are set-up to automatically pay your bill you could be in for a costly fee-rich surprise if your bank account becomes overdrawn or other bills bounce as a result. When you pay manually, you know just how much you are paying and when.
Technology isn't error proof
There have been times in my life that a technological errors, such as cases where an ATM or debs were taken twice or a debt was taken far later than expected, have burned me pretty good financially. No matter how advanced our technology becomes it will never be error proof. While, in most cases, banks and credit card companies do fix opps-situations, the process often isn't swift and can be a time consuming process that exceeds the time it takes to pay bills manually.
Manual bill pay leads to better financial tracking
You are more likely to actually check the details of bills and the progress of any debt pay-downs if you manually go in each month to pay the bill. With today's easily forgettable card swiping it's not hard to spend far more than you mean to. Automated bill pay simply makes spending money even less "real" as you don't even look at your bill.
Life can be unexpected
Finally, there have been times where I couldn't pay a bill right on its due date-well, not without forgoing food or missing a far more important bill. Manual bill pay allows you to choose what is paid and when. For many just barely staying afloat in our rough economy, that's an important power to wield. I want to control where my money goes and when, and that's why I'll never opt for automatic bill-pay.
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