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Old 09-11-2011, 09:09 AM   #21
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I can't see that your checking account can be compromised using auto-pay options as you don't use a debit card to set up auto pay.

You give out your bank account details every time you write a check but a thief can't buy anything with those details. A thief would have a short career if he used someone else's bank account details to set up auto pay for his utilities bills.

I actually know the bank account details of many folks in the UK as this is the easiest and now extremely common way to send money to friends, pay bills etc. All you can do with bank account details is to put money in.
Alan.........do you know how the autopay gets activated? Do both the payer and payee have to agree that I authorized the autopay? Seems logical but see my post above yours. I gave written authorization for a fund company to autoDEPOSIT monthly dividends into my account. In one instance, however, they autoWITHDREW (autoPAY) an unauthorized
amount. Seems reasonable , I guess, that both fund and bank would have had to agree that I authorized the transaction. Maybe that's why they both were so quick to reverse the penalties for an overdrawn account and bounced check?
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Old 09-11-2011, 09:24 AM   #22
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Alan.........do you know how the autopay gets activated? Do both the payer and payee have to agree that I authorized the autopay? Seems logical but see my post above yours. I gave written authorization for a fund company to autoDEPOSIT monthly dividends into my account. In one instance, however, they autoWITHDREW (autoPAY) an unauthorized
amount. Seems reasonable , I guess, that both fund and bank would have had to agree that I authorized the transaction. Maybe that's why they both were so quick to reverse the penalties for an overdrawn account and bounced check?
It has been a while since I set up any bank autopay in the USA but I have done a couple this last few months in the UK and I think it is similar. (I don't have a UK credit card for this 7 month vacation of ours).

You complete a form with the company that includes an instruction to your bank that informs them that you are giving permission to the company to withdraw funds directly from your account. You can cancel the arrangement either by telling your bank or the company, preferably both. In my UK bank I can cancel the autopayment arrangements on-line, and I'll be doing just that later this month as our time here comes to an end.
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Old 09-11-2011, 10:49 AM   #23
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I have been using autopay via my checking account to pay my small, routine, monthly utility bills such as phone (includes internet), cable, and electric. Each of these has been active for at least 10 years, some of them closer to 15. When I had a mortgage in the 1990s, I used autpay for that, too, because I had a bad experience with the lender at the closing and did not want to risk dealing with them if the PO mailed the check to them late.

I use automatic online bill-pay for my one remaining monthly bill, the monthly maintenance charges for my co-op. But that is totally within my control with a few point-and-clicks so I could end it at any time. And I have to go into my online banking once a year to change the amount when the monthly maintenance changes.

For other bills which are not monthly such as insurance (auto, home, health), I prefer to use a paper check and mail it out. I get plenty of lead time so if it doesn't post to my account I still have time to inquire and do something about it. Also, because these amounts are larger, I have sometimes used a different account to write the check from so I don't want to lock myself into using the same account for the payment.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:45 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by kaneohe View Post
Alan.........do you know how the autopay gets activated? Do both the payer and payee have to agree that I authorized the autopay? Seems logical but see my post above yours. I gave written authorization for a fund company to autoDEPOSIT monthly dividends into my account. In one instance, however, they autoWITHDREW (autoPAY) an unauthorized
amount. Seems reasonable , I guess, that both fund and bank would have had to agree that I authorized the transaction. Maybe that's why they both were so quick to reverse the penalties for an overdrawn account and bounced check?
When you activate an autopay function you authorize the service provider (payee) to access your account. They have already made an agreement with the bank where they affirm they will only withdraw when funds have been authorized and they (payee) accepts the liability for an error. When they go to withdraw the funds from the bank they confirm to the bank that they have your authorization.
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:51 AM   #25
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For other bills which are not monthly such as insurance (auto, home, health), I prefer to use a paper check and mail it out. I get plenty of lead time so if it doesn't post to my account I still have time to inquire and do something about it. Also, because these amounts are larger, I have sometimes used a different account to write the check from so I don't want to lock myself into using the same account for the payment.
I still use online banking for these. The bank does the printing and mailing of the check and you have the record and images to prove it has been sent and, later, cashed. No postage, no messing with envelopes and going out to mail it.
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:26 PM   #26
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I tend to think linearly and in compartments, so using the following type of process helps me with my budgeting.
I keep a separate "bill paying" checking account for all periodic bills from known and trusted entities (utilities, insurance, DCA investing, etc). My "income" savings/checking account are completely separate, with income coming in on direct deposit. I do transfers from the income account to the bill paying account to cover any extra purchases I do above and beyond known periodic bills.
All other purchases, especially online ones, go directly or through PayPal onto a single credit card with cashback rewards. I manually pay the cc bill twice a month, using the cc website to electronically authorize the payment. If I ever see an unauthorized or incorrect charge on my cc, I like having the protection of the credit card rules to protect against fraudulent or inaccurate charges.
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:45 PM   #27
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When you activate an autopay function you authorize the service provider (payee) to access your account. They have already made an agreement with the bank where they affirm they will only withdraw when funds have been authorized and they (payee) accepts the liability for an error. When they go to withdraw the funds from the bank they confirm to the bank that they have your authorization.
I guess what I am asking (not very clearly, I guess) is what does the bank
need to see from the payee before doing the autopay.......is it just some document from the payee saying they are authorized, my signed authorization, or something else? I guess it can't be my signed authorization because it never existed and yet the bank paid it. If I had your RTN and account no.,
can I submit a form saying I am authorized and then withdraw from your account........I'm sure I'd get caught but could I do it?

Somewhat related......as someone already said, everybody who gets your check knows your RTN and account number. Yet your account doesn't get emptied so obviously there is a gate of some sort. What is that gate?
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:18 PM   #28
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Somewhat related......as someone already said, everybody who gets your check knows your RTN and account number. Yet your account doesn't get emptied so obviously there is a gate of some sort. What is that gate?
I don't know about autopay, specifically, but not long ago I set up for ACH transfers between my stock broker and my bank checking account, and other than answering some security questions, there was no gate. I did it all on the web.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:21 PM   #29
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I guess what I am asking (not very clearly, I guess) is what does the bank
need to see from the payee before doing the autopay.......is it just some document from the payee saying they are authorized, my signed authorization, or something else? I guess it can't be my signed authorization because it never existed and yet the bank paid it. If I had your RTN and account no.,
can I submit a form saying I am authorized and then withdraw from your account........I'm sure I'd get caught but could I do it?

Somewhat related......as someone already said, everybody who gets your check knows your RTN and account number. Yet your account doesn't get emptied so obviously there is a gate of some sort. What is that gate?
can I submit a form saying I am authorized and then withdraw from your account........I'm sure I'd get caught but could I do it?
No, you can't it has to have my signature and "you" have to be an acredited, registered business. It can be a paper signature but these days it can be electronic.

Yet your account doesn't get emptied so obviously there is a gate of some sort. What is that gate?
As an individual you would have to be set up as joint account holder or similar to be able to withdraw funds. If knowing someone's bank details from a check allowed you to withdraw funds, that would be crazy - yes?
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:27 PM   #30
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I don't know about autopay, specifically, but not long ago I set up for ACH transfers between my stock broker and my bank checking account, and other than answering some security questions, there was no gate. I did it all on the web.
But you initiate any ACH transfer from you to him? Can he dip into and withdraw funds anytime he wants?

I have ACH set up between me and my brokers but I send the money.

That is the difference with autopay. "I authorize company x to withdraw funds as needed to pay my utility bills"
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:03 PM   #31
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But you initiate any ACH transfer from you to him? Can he dip into and withdraw funds anytime he wants?
If all goes well, he won't be taking any funds that I didn't authorize him to take. I trust that he won't. OTOH, there doesn't seem to be any gate to prevent that.
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:43 PM   #32
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If all goes well, he won't be taking any funds that I didn't authorize him to take. I trust that he won't. OTOH, there doesn't seem to be any gate to prevent that.
I just checked the ACH agreement with my broker and the only authorized signature for each and every transaction to and from our bank is myself or my wife.

I find it hard to believe that you have signed an ACH agreement with your broker that authorizes him to withdraw an undefined amount of funds from your account at any time without your prior authorization.
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Old 09-11-2011, 04:20 PM   #33
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I just checked the ACH agreement with my broker and the only authorized signature for each and every transaction to and from our bank is myself or my wife.
By "signature" you mean an actual pen-on-paper physical signing, and this is required for every bank transaction? No, I don't have to do a physical signing for a transaction. I don't have any direct interaction with my bank at all. I login to my brokers' (T.Rowe Price), click a few button on web forms to say what I want to buy, enter some digits for the amount, click Submit, and that's it. The TRP computer initiates the ACH transfer.
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I find it hard to believe that you have signed an ACH agreement with your broker that authorizes him to withdraw an undefined amount of funds from your account at any time without your prior authorization.
I'm reasonable sure there was never any paper agreement that I signed saying anything at all about ACH. However, whenever I initiate an account with one of TRP's mutual funds, using the web interface, I have to click a screen box signifying that I agree that this account will have ACH privileges (if I want it to have -- and I always do).

(I'm not sure I should be referring to TRP as "my broker". The firm does offer brokerage services, but I don't use them, since I don't buy/sell individual stocks or bonds with them -- only mutual funds.)
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Old 09-11-2011, 11:47 PM   #34
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Most of our bills are automatically paid by CC or from our checking account. Water/sewer, lawn guy and property taxes (they are not set for auto pay) are paid online but has to be done manually. CC bills are paid automatically from checking account also. We seldom write checks.

I took advantage of a free feature from our bank (Chase), that sends us an e-mail alert for any on-line transaction on our Chase CC, savings and checking accounts. The alerts are fast - we can go buy something and by the time we get home, the e-mail alert would be there. We also use Quicken to download our transactions from Discover. We would know within a day if there is any unauthorized transaction in our accounts.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:54 AM   #35
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I took advantage of a free feature from our bank (Chase), that sends us an e-mail alert for any on-line transaction on our Chase CC, savings and checking accounts.
While we have this option for our CC/bank accounts, we also turned on the notification using Yodlee, where we get a notice (daily) for any charge or bank activity that is more than $1.00

Just an option for those that don't have notification through other means.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:27 AM   #36
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By "signature" you mean an actual pen-on-paper physical signing, and this is required for every bank transaction? No, I don't have to do a physical signing for a transaction. I don't have any direct interaction with my bank at all. I login to my brokers' (T.Rowe Price), click a few button on web forms to say what I want to buy, enter some digits for the amount, click Submit, and that's it. The TRP computer initiates the ACH transfer.
I'm reasonable sure there was never any paper agreement that I signed saying anything at all about ACH. However, whenever I initiate an account with one of TRP's mutual funds, using the web interface, I have to click a screen box signifying that I agree that this account will have ACH privileges (if I want it to have -- and I always do).

(I'm not sure I should be referring to TRP as "my broker". The firm does offer brokerage services, but I don't use them, since I don't buy/sell individual stocks or bonds with them -- only mutual funds.)
I mean an electronic signature which is what you have in place, and you can set up ACH without any paper transfers. You say that you have to go online and click a few screens. By logging onto the site and making the clicks you are authorizing the transfer of funds. These days signatures can be either paper or electronic.

This is not autopay, which is what the thread is about.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:33 PM   #37
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I use virtual account numbers for bill payment with cc. Discover had this feature but they dropped it this month. I now use ATT/Universal Card with the same feature. It generates a virtual number to use online or phone or whenever, so your true cc number is never revealed. It can be used multiple times by the same merchant, and generates credits also if needed.
I use ACH transfers for all my cc full balance payments, and recurring bills. I only write 4 checks a year 2 X property tax, 2 X propane.
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