electronic payments

I am looking at using my bank’s web site to pay bills. If I pay, say my cell phone bill, this way, instead of mailing in the payment, how does the cell phone company know that I have paid the bill?

You tell the bank to pay the cell phone (or whomever) company and the cell phone (or whomever) company will provide the correct bank routing info. You may get a ‘receipt’ from the payee company letting you know they have received payment.

Does your bank charge for this service? If so, you may want to consult your list of payees and see if you can authorize payment from their website. My bank wants to charge me $9.95 per month! If I go to each payee’s website and set up auto-pay, it would cost me nothing!

My credit union has two payment schemes:

  1. For utilities and major credit card companies, they have arrangements for electronic funds transfer with your appropriate account number. No charge.
  2. For smaller companies or private payments, like to my landlord, their check writing machine spits one out on the given day, and it goes into the mail. Cost, @$0.40, including envelop and stamp.

They haven’t missed a payment yet. I haven’t written a check in months.

people actually PAY for this…

I once worked on a ‘Bill Pay’ system for WFB (Hi Websters!).

All this does is generate a settlement transaction and send it along with the (several times a day) batches to the Federal Reserve Bank.

Yes, most of your creditors would be THRILLED to gen this transaction and shoot it along to the Fed - most actually BEG permission to debit your account - ask your:



insurance (all forms)

credit cards

these will be QUITE happy to key up the transaction - FOR FREE!

now, if you want to talk about ‘float’ games…

I am a Bank Of America customer with free Bill Pay. After setting up info on my payees - account number, billing address etc. they either electronically send them the funds within two day, or print a paper check and mail it to them directly.

With my approx. 12 obligations every month (utilities, internet, student loans, taxes, credit cards etc.) I only have to write 1 check a month - my rent. I haven’t mailed a bill in a year.

I did have one problem when the improper amount was credited to my account - it was cleared up within 24 hours and the bank straightened out everything.

I don’t know if I would pay $8.95/mo for this (like the old Checkfree and 3rd party bill pay services of yore) - but I will never go back to the “conventional system”.

Lovable Rogue

I am not asking about automatic bill paying. If I sign up for that, they know they are getting paid.

This is a free service from the bank.

I could pay my VISA bill in full or just partially. I decide, unlike automatic bill paying which pays in full. How does VISA know how much I paid?

starfish, I believe you already have your answer. The bank does an electronic funds transfer on your behalf to the billing company. You’ll find that you have to set the amount (the bank doesn’t know how much the bill is for), and you’ll have to provide the bank with account information.

I was somewhat startled a few years ago to realize that this wasn’t ubiquitous in the U.S. All of the major Canadian banks have offered this for many years. I’ve been paying my highway tolls, cell phone, phone, AMEX, VISA, electricity and gas bills online forever.

I know a lot of people think they are evil incarnate, but Paypal offers this service completely free.

I cannot speak for the US, but here in the UK we can send funds to pay bill to the company’s bank account and it is free of charge for individuals (businesses may get charged). The other method is to set up a direct debit, which is basically an agreement between the customer and the company that the company can go in and take whatever amount the bill is for each month/quarter/whatever. The bank is only involved because they hold your money.

We have had this over here in the UK for years. All you need are a few key details and we can send money anywhere. It is even possible to send money overseas. I use it all the time to pay my credit card bills. I hate writing checks. The main benefit is that you can set the amount, edit it, delete it etc and it leaves your account immediately (as opposed to a check).


Evil theives!

I have an account at netbank

Free online billpay, low or no fee interest bearing checking accounts.

Consumer reports recently gave them an OK review here they just don’t like their privacy policy.

In consumer reports magazine they ranked third out of 15 similar companies. (feb 02 issue)

Cerowyn I know they will get exactly what I tell the bank to credit them. How do they know that it is from me, and not charge me for a late fee?

Short Form:

they WON’T know it’s from you. They WON’T CARE, EITHER!!!

The transaction contains, among other things:

“From” Institution
“From” Account
“To” Institution
“To” Account
Transaction Type
Transaction Code
Currency Code

Tons of secret banker-type stuff

anyway, your ACCOUNT gets credited - and, as long as your ACCOUNT is current, they will not yell at YOU.