Auto Bill Pay: Pros and Cons

Published: Dec. 22, 2011 at 9:26 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 23, 2011 at 4:00 AM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) When it comes to paying bills, many consumers use Auto Bill Pay. It's quick and easy, but financial experts warn, don't get too laxed with the convenience. Financial Specialist Tracey Means, with Clear Point Credit Counseling Solutions, uses auto bill pay and encourages her clients to do the same.

"You know that your bills are being paid on time and you are avoiding a lot of fees. You are saving time with writing checks and even purchasing stamps," she said.

Auto bill pay cuts out the middle man and allows you to pay your bills directly from your bank account.

Financial experts say consumers are attracted to the convenience. 

There are, however, warning for those who may not be completely in check with their finances.

"If you are having issues with balancing your checkbook, that may be someone that may need to stay away from the bill pay," advises Means.

Yes, it is quick and easy but experts warn auto bill pay can also cause financial laziness. There are some things you need to watch for, one in particular, your security.

"There are a lot of pros versus the cons, but there are some cons to it. One being someone high-jacking into your account or phishing. So you want to be careful of that you make sure you look at your account on a daily basis," Means adds.

Another biggie to be aware of - late payments. Make sure with auto bill pay your scheduled payments arrive by the due date.

"If you are late with making a payment that could be $35, sometimes even more...and if you are late with you mortgage [the fee can be] $85," Means said.

Auto bill pay can be a great financial tool but you have to keep track of the money that comes in and goes out. And before you hit the send button -- one final piece of important advice from Clear Point -- make sure the funds are there. Experts also say it's probably not a good idea to set up recurring payments using auto bill pay, unless you know for sure you will have enough money every month to cover the bill. You can always contact your bank if you have problems with your account.

For more information about auto bill pay, click here.

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