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Cheap mail autopay?
Old 07-05-2007, 08:55 PM   #1
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Cheap mail autopay?

As I've switched from paying a mortgage to renting, one thing is bothering me: having to write a rent check and drop it in the mail every month. I had all my bills on autopay before and so this is the one thing that I would have to manually do.

My checking account (Wells Fargo) has a service where for $5 6.95/month they will automatically pay such bills, mailing a check when I schedule it. And I know there probably is a way to set up automated transfers through ACH, but I don't feel entirely comfortable asking my new landlord for account numbers to transfer money into. I'm the only renter my landlord has, so it's probably not worthwhile for them to set up an autopay service.

Has anyone found a good way to pay arbitrary people money regularly without paying a $5 6.95/mo fee for the privilege?
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:01 PM   #2
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but I don't feel entirely comfortable asking my new landlord for account numbers to transfer money into. I'm the only renter my landlord has, so it's probably not worthwhile for them to set up an autopay service.
Why not? It benefits both sides. There is nothing to setup. All the landlord has to give you is his/her account number. There is no security risk either, as the only thing you can do is a transfer from your bank to his (not vice versa).
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:09 PM   #3
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Many banks do online bill pay for free. If they can't do an ACH transfer, they mail a check. I use WF and pay my water bill by online bill pay. WF sends the water company a check and does not do an ACH transfer. Why does WF charge you $5? Did you offer to pay them $5 for this when they do it for everyone else for free?
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:15 PM   #4
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I agree ask the landlord for account info. It is a nice convenience for him too. Mant banks do ACH for free.
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:18 PM   #5
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A lot of banks that do no minimum free checking want to charge a $5 fee for epay. Even vanguard does it unless you're a flagship customer.

Free, low tech way to do it...give your landlord an envelope every six months with six rent checks in it, filled out and postdated to the proper month...
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:19 PM   #6
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Thanks LOL. I investigated a bit further and indeed it looks like I do have one of the WF account types that qualifies for free bill pay:

https://www.wellsfargo.com/wfonline/bill_pay/fee_waiver

Sweet!
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Old 07-05-2007, 09:27 PM   #7
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I'm a bit skittish about giving out or requesting account numbers due to the whole identity theft issue. Theoretically they don't give the ability to withdraw money, but in practice the account number could be the missing piece of info that allows a thief access. Also it freaks me out that health clubs and other such entities can set up transfers out of my account knowing just the account and routing numbers.
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Old 07-05-2007, 10:40 PM   #8
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Thanks LOL. I investigated a bit further and indeed it looks like I do have one of the WF account types that qualifies for free bill pay:

https://www.wellsfargo.com/wfonline/bill_pay/fee_waiver

Sweet!
I get a few of those mailed-by-the-bank checks.... Anybody know a speedy way to open the ones you have to tear the ends off of, then the strip across the top, then the check out? I mean, it is ungracious of me to whine about getting regular money in the mail, but I'm a lazy bastige.
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Old 07-06-2007, 01:14 AM   #9
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My online checking account at ING Direct offers free online bill paying, and they also will send a paper check (at no charge, they even pay the 41 cent postage) to anyone you don't want to or are unable to send an online payment to.

I don't know why people are so skittish about giving out account numbers. Every time you pay by check, your check has the name of your bank, and your account number on it, as well as the routing number, all the information you need to send an online payment. So what is the worry about privacy? If you're worried about that, stop writing checks.

The ING Direct checking account also pays 3.63% interest with no fees and no minimums, and is FDIC insured.

What's not to like? ING DIRECT - Save Your Money! and ask about their Electric Orange checking account. (You can also open an Orange savings account, that pays 4.5% interest that also has no minimums and no fees, and money from it can be transferred to your Electric Orange checking account as well as two others at any time, free of fees. Also FDIC insured. (They do not link to brokerage accounts, however.)

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Old 07-06-2007, 07:34 AM   #10
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Why not give the landlord a few postdated cheques?
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