I just switched our gas bill to auto-payment.  I’d let our email go for a while and when I finally got around to looking at it, I saw that our gas bill is due in a couple of days.  The gas bill is paid by credit card for no additional charge so I figured, why not just auto-pay it.

Usually I like to keep our energy bills paid manually even if I pay them via credit card online because I like to keep an eye on our energy and water consumption and to make sure nothing weird is going on.  Our regular utilities that cost the same every month (internet, netflix, etc.) no matter what I’ve been happy to let automatically charge the credit card bill.

But lately I just haven’t had as much time or attention.  So… hopefully I’ll notice any unusual gas bills when I go over the credit card statement.

I’ll still manually pay bills that come from our bank account or that charge extra for credit card billing.  But who knows, maybe I will relax that in the future.  We’ll see.

How do you decide which bills to automate and which to pay manually?

13 Responses to “Auto-payment”

  1. monsterzero Says:

    I pay them all manually online, twice a month when I get paid. Hm, actually I guess webhosting and Pandora get charged to my credit card without intervention, but I didn’t have a choice there.

    In general, I don’t trust vendors to get it right or to access my actual bank account, and relatively few of them charge the same amount every time, so that’s what makes sense for me. My sweetie has the opposite philosophy and automates everything.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, I don’t trust people with my bank account. The only automation we have is deposits from the employer and monthly taking out from our 529 plan (not sure why we trust the 529 plan, but I guess I did). With the credit card I feel like we have an extra layer of protection.

  2. Nanani Says:

    Same as you. The steady ones (subscriptions like netflix, internet bill) and/or ones that require long notice periods for changes (rent) are automatic, a mix of direct deposit and credit card.
    The ones that vary with usage are manual (electricity is the big one here) so I can keep an eye on them and I do think it makes me more conscientious about usage.
    Electricity is billed every two months AND we have a “peak hours” scheme where power costs more during certain hours and less during others, so actually having to look at the bill and at my consumption is useful information.

  3. Leigh Says:

    I don’t do auto charges out of my checking account, but I’m fine with auto charges to the credit card. Those can always get reversed easily, so it doesn’t seem like a big deal. One month, the electricity “company” had issues with billing and they never sent me the bill, but they were going to charge my credit card anyways. I appreciated that the auto-pay meant that I couldn’t forget to pay the bill on time.

  4. Linda Says:

    Like monsterzero, I have some things automatically charged to a credit card each month (Netflix, waste collection, internet/TV service). Most of those are the same cost every month (although AT&T seems to change their cost a bit here and there.) Everything I pay once a month via online banking.

    I don’t like to pay the other way where I can have the vendor deduct from my bank account because I want to know the cost before it comes out of my checking account. Mainly that’s because I don’t have my paycheck direct deposited into checking, but have it go directly into savings instead. Then I transfer money a couple times a month to checking to cover bills. So for bills that may vary month by month, I wouldn’t know how much money to schedule for the transfer from savings to checking.

    Just this weekend I ran into an issue where making the payment from the vendor side (by entering my bank info) didn’t work out so well for me. When I set up the payment source a couple months ago I missed one digit in my account number, and the payment didn’t go through. I was confused as to why I got hit with a late payment fee and interest charge on this new credit card, but things have been topsy turvy here for a couple months so I chalked it up to me forgetting. This lack of payment issue went on for two months, and I finally called their customer service this weekend to try to figure it out. She asked me to read off my bank account number and then explained that I was off by one digit, which was why the payment didn’t work. *&^%*! I made a full payment over the phone and she reversed the extra charges for me. Next time, I’m paying from my bank bill pay system so this doesn’t happen.

    • eemusings Says:

      that’s what I used to do too (money straight into savings, then transferred out for living costs as needed). Not so much now – doing it a bit differently since buying a place.

  5. chacha1 Says:

    I don’t have anything set up to debit my checking account unless I am performing the operation myself. Hulu, my cell-phone plan, my domain name registration renewal, my blog account renewal, and AAA are auto-billed to my operational credit card. Otherwise, with the single exception of the privately-held mortgage on the property we’re buying (which I pay by check), I pay bills electronically but manually.

    On the intake side, I have direct deposit to checking, and my 401(k) and HSA contributions are made, pretax, automagically.

  6. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    I have several automatic transactions set up on my checking accounts: city utilities, electric and gas, phone and internet, allowance for son, transfer to bond fund. I still get detailed paper statements for the utilities (city and power),which I check monthly. I also have automatic deductions from my paycheck to retirement savings and charity (used to have 529 plan also, but that’s not needed any more). I manually pay my credit card bill (tiny, since I mostly use debit cards from the checking accounts), homeowner’s insurance (once a year), and property tax (twice a year).

  7. Rosa Says:

    any little thing derails our bill-paying and we get late fees, so I have everything autodeducted. It pulls from the “household expenses” account so they can’t mess up too much if some vendor double charges or something. I do look them over and make sure, but this way if we’re out of town or working a ton at the beginning of the month, there’s no extra fees.

    We used to pay our auto insurance every six months but they offered us a bigger discount for monthly autopay, so we changed that. And since we refinanced with the credit union several years ago there have been no random problems with our mortgage payments – previously we manually paid the mortgage because our mortgage servicer changed often and each one seemed to have problems. The only really untrustworthy vendor I still do business with is Verizon and since I went to a prepay flat rate that has been fine.

  8. eemusings Says:

    I much prefer to pay things manually, on my CC, for points.

    However, this isn’t an option for all bills. So internet (same each month) is autopaid from CC (I get a heads up email each month). His cellphone (usually varies a little bit each month but not much) is also autopaid from CC. Both of our income insurances are autopaid (also the same quarterly… or is it 6 monthly?) I have my bus card set to auto top up.

    Manually pay: other insurances, rates (similar to your property taxes), water, power.

  9. Katherine Says:

    We have our cell phones and the newspaper billed automatically to a credit card. Our cell phone provider requires auto-bill, and I don’t remember making the choice about the newspaper. Everything else I pay manually, by credit card if I can for the points and out of checking if there is a fee for paying with a card. I don’t like to have things coming out of checking automatically.

    We’re thinking about using our credit union’s automatic bill pay for our mortgage. I’m not sure how I feel about that or how the whole thing works, since our loan is a family loan so even if they do it for us it’s still going to be a paper check.

  10. slybrarian Says:

    I’ve been moving most of my utilities to my credit card and autopay. I still check the amount but my card basically double-checks it for me because it sends me alerts if anything varies.

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