smart spending

Trick or treat: 7 money tips

Online bill pay
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Online bill pay

Love it or fear it, electronic bill paying is more than just a gimmick to save stamps, says Sherry. It can preserve time.

The tricks:

  • It takes time to set up online bill paying. And many consumers worry about entering the wrong information accidentally, Sherry says.
  • With automated payments, you need a cash cushion in your account, Sherry says. Otherwise, you risk bouncing electronic checks.
  • Bills aren't necessarily "paid" the day of the payment. They may take up to a week to process, she says. So if you're not careful, you could pay late inadvertently.
  • You still have to watch your account and keep a running tab on transactions.

The treats:

  • You save time. You don't have to write checks and run to the mailbox. Automate and you don't have to do anything at all.
  • When automated payments are set up properly, you don't have to worry about late payments, late payment fees and damage to your credit.

If you try it, use all the security your computer offers, Sherry says. Set up password protection on your machine. And, if possible, create a locked partition of your hard drive just for your banking activities.


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