Companies making it damn near impossible to pay them without paying a fee for the pleasure!


Anything of any scale is on an electronic payment agreement with major banks. Most of my personal as well as business bills hit the place I am paying the next day, with the paper checks I have seen one take a week a couple times.

Then again…everyone hates my bank…so maybe its lack of customers allows me to be served better :smiley:

The company I work for does online bill payment processing for a couple of thousand banks. We have electronic relationships with more the 40,000 remittance centers.

I find it both fascinating and bizarre how many presumably grown-up people apparently have no conception of how to properly pay bills, AND apparently have no conception of how the mail works.

To hear you people talk, we’re living in a corrupt Third Word hellhole, where sending mail is roughly the literary and/or financial equivalent of Russian roulette. It’s like you people have never even heard of a modern, Western postal service. Sure, the postal service occasionally makes mistakes, but the percentage of mistakes is extremely low.

All you have to do is use the handy envelope that the company in question provides, spend 30 seconds writing a check, and pop it in the mail. If you mail it a week before the due date (although that assumes you can read a calendar, which based on some of these posts may be an unreasonable assumption) you’ll be fine 99.9% of the time. If you’re paranoid, mail it 10 days before the due date, and you’ll be fine 99.9999% of the time.

A lot of you people have complaints that boil down to “They charge for paying online or by phone.” Then you throw a hissy fit, apparently thinking that paying by mail is somehow unacceptable.


Learn how to pay your bills PROPERLY, and everybody around you will thank you!

I just had a credit card with them. It was probably 4 or 5 years ago that I canceled the card because they wanted to charge me for an “expidited” online payment.

You’re assuming I:

  1. Have checks (ok, these I have. But for a while, I didn’t. I paid everything online or with a card at one point in my life, even my rent was auto-deducted from my checking account. Only when I moved did I have to order more.)

  2. Have envelopes (Sometimes they provide them, sometimes not. Or sometimes I accidentally throw them away because I forgot to take the return envelope out of the one they sent me.) I’ve bought boxes of them, but more than once I’ve run into the problem that it’s been so long since I used them, the glue on the envelopes either doesn’t work, or worked too well and it’s now sealed shut before I can use it.


  1. Have stamps. Here’s the biggie. Despite everyone saying how easy it is to get stamps (the ATM has them, grocery stores have them, machines in the mall have them) I’ve never seen this to be the case. I’ve asked at grocery stores I go to…nope. I’ve never seen a stand-alone machine that sold them that wasn’t at the Post Office, and none of the ATM’s I use sell them. So I have to get myself to the Post Office. Impossible? No…but do I like doing it? Bigger no.

Luckily, my roommate is better at it than I am (it helps he has Mondays off,) so the few stamps we use a month he can provide.
Online is just a lot easier overall. I don’t need to have anything in advance, I can just do it. And in most cases, even if I forget about the bill until a couple days before it’s due, an online payment still gets there in time, no late fee. Good thing my bank has completely free online checking.

In what way is paying online NOT a proper way to pay a bill? Furthermore it is probably the most cost efficient way for a bank to accept money as it involves no employee time at all, no envelopes to open, no checks to process, so why should they charge for it?

Seriously? We can’t advance past the age of hand delivery of paper checks? ESPECIALLY since the end result of that piece of paper being delivered is an electronic transfer between banks anyway? No one sends the original checks back to the check-writer’s bank anymore.

The simple truth is that online payments are cheaper for companies to deal with - there’s no human interaction whatsoever. Yet they charge extra just because they can. Just like the phone companies used to charge $1/month for touch tone service, even though it actually saved them money when people used touch tone instead of rotary dial phones. So fuck them sideways with a spade.

And paying bills online is much faster than writing and mailing a check (at 45 cents a pop).

Am I doing something wrong that I let various creditors extract monthly payments directly from my checking account? My mortgage, auto insurance, heating oil and probably several others I can’t recall are handled this way. I’ve never been cheated, never been charged a fee, never had a late payment. Our income is directly deposited, our bills are directly debited, and if we’re on vacation, it all still happens. So why are some of you against doing this? I thought it was a no-brainer…

Bill paying online is not free to the banks. They have computer, Internet, and other overhead costs.

Sure, it’s probably a lot cheaper than handling paper checks (but remember, those are highly automated. It’s not a clerk with a knife opening envelopes one at a time.) But online paying is new & sexy, and that allows them to add a fee that most customers will tolerate, at least for a while.

Remember when Touch-Tone telephones were first implemented? It was cheaper, faster and better all-around to use the DTMF technology instead of mechanical relays, but Ma Bell charged the consumer extra for it. Some (me included) thought it was enough of an improvement (and sexy) that we paid the extra charge. Now, it’s free as part of most service packages.

I don’t do automatic payments because I don’t quite trust the big companies involved not to screw it up. Plus by manually requesting that the bills be paid electronically, I’m forced to review the bill, which might catch errors.

Really? My mortgage is with them, all I do is log on and pay them.

Funny that someone mentioned Wells Fargo as a bad example, I’ve had nothing but good experiences with them, in two different states. I can pay all of my credit cards online, Same day , free. Any time I have a complaint, they figure out a way to fix it, and I always get to speak to someone who speaks English. Now, BoA etc? Oh he’ll yes, I have my mortgage through them, huge hassle! (though they have been better lately )

Your post is idiotic. There are reliable ways online to schedule payments that will be paid electronically on time, for free.

you can buy stamps by mail in the USA, delivered right to your mailbox.

For me, the bill payment & fee situation is:

Landline, mobile & internet, electric, and credit card: free online billpay from my bank (BOA), goes through the next business day.

Mortgage: BOA also has my mortgage, so free online transfer within the bank, goes through immediately.

For all of these, I go online and pay them as the bills come in (by email) or come due; that is, I have no automatic payments set up.

Condo assessment: old-fashioned check, by mail or at a drop-box at the management company office. Postage stamp if I mail, no stamp if I use the drop-box, which is sorta (but not exactly) on the route between home and the train station.

Auto & homeowner’s insurance: company gives me the choice of either writing a check, one-time online payment for $3.25, or the autopay deduction thing for free. Don’t want to pay for the “privilege” of paying my premium :rolleyes:, don’t want hundreds of dollars deducted from my bank account at a time of someone else’s choosing :eek:, generally not worried that the “post office [will] fuck it up” as pbbth worries. :wink: So I choose the old-fashioned check in the mail.

While I agree with muldoonthief that we shouldn’t need to send checks for routine or regular bills, I also agree with Flyer that mailing a check is by far the lesser of two evils when the other choice is instant payment with a fee – unless the “convenience” fee is $0.50 or less (postage + envelope, if not provided), which it almost never is, or you’ve got less than a week before a late-payment fee kicks in. Crotalus: I didn’t get the impression Flyer was eschewing all online or instant payments, just saying that if and when one’s choice is not-free instant payment or check by mail, the latter is a viable option.

FairyChatMom: no, if you’re comfortable with automatic payments, then it works for you. Personally, I’m wary of sums of a couple hundred dollars or more coming out of my checking account, for fear that the payment will come due at a time when I don’t have enough in the account so I end up in NSF/bouncy check territory. I do have automatic top-up from my credit card for my transit and tollway accounts because a $40 charge (the amount I set with both authorities) at a random time isn’t ever going to push me over my credit limit.

Look at Flyer’s post again. It appears to me that he thinks the postal service is the only way to go. That is the only method he suggests. Which makes him approximately as stupid as the Postmaster General, who refuses to pay bills online.

I am more comfortable automating the payments at the sending end rather than the receiving one.

As an aside, I am down to physically writing one check per year. It is for my car registration. My state charges $2 for the honor of renewing online, so I just mail it in. I could renew it in person and use a credit card at no additional charge, but I try to avoid going to the DMV unless I have to.

I was going by

I don’t see anywhere in Flyer’s post where he/she says free online billpay isn’t a “proper” payment method.

Here’s a weird glitch (scam?) one of my banks tried on me… So maybe everybody should check your automatic payments agreements.

I had a car loan once. I had a checking account at the same bank that made the loan. I had automatic monthly payments deducted from my checking account.

I discovered, almost at the last minute and quite by accident, that the automatic payments worked UP TO BUT NOT INCLUDING THE FINAL PAYMENT. The final payment simply didn’t happen. At some point, I happened to notice this, in time to make the final payment myself with an old-fashioned hand-written check. If I had been out of town, or otherwise not paying attention, it wouldn’t have gotten done. Gee, y’think the bank was going to repossess my car for lack of that final payment? What were they thinking?

All of you with automatic loan payments, maybe you should ask about this. Is there some scam here? If so, is it a common practice?

I guess I was focusing too much on what I perceived as “the mail” being “the proper” way to pay. Maybe I’m over-sensitive because I make my living writing software that enables online payments. :slight_smile: