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Old 09-06-2020, 08:48 AM   #21
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The only thing for which I still write paper checks is my property taxes, because the town will charge 3% to pay from a credit card and will not take a direct bank transfer.
I just paid our annual property taxes using a CC thanks to Covid-19. The state has waived all charges this year, so I grabbed the points - lots!
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Old 09-06-2020, 08:54 AM   #22
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I have all of our bills auto pay to our Citi cash back credit card. Never had an issue in many years.

Ironically, I do not have my credit card on autopay as I prefer to pay it off manually two or three times a month. No reason, I just feel more comfortable not having a big balance on our credit card. It rarely gets over $1000 before I pay it off again.

A few annual bills like our car insurance and property taxes still have to be done manually, but I do these online with the same credit card.
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Old 09-06-2020, 08:57 AM   #23
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I'm still a holdout on autopay. Maybe I have too much time on my hands?

I did put the Verizon bill on autopay, but found out I lost my 5% discount through AMEX card. So, back to manual mode.

I have about 15-20 possible payments (some quarterl) I might make in a month. I have these on a cheat sheet, printed out, and it sits next to my desktop screen. At a glance I know the closing date, due date, etc.
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:09 AM   #24
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I use autopay for most, but not all monthly bills. The monthly autopay ones I use ACH except for one where the bank mails out a check. I don't use autopay to pay my CC because I may not always use my local bank's checking account to pay it.


I have one small autopay to my back-up CC, an annual charge, which keeps the otherwise unused CC account open.


I'll use my CC or ACH to pay one-time charges, depending on if the merchant allows CC without any fees. My main CC is from the same bank as my checking account, so to pay it I just go to my online banking to pay it. Once in a while, I'll set the payment date a few days later, but I usually pay it upon signing in.


I began using autopay back in the early 1990s to pay my mortgage. Then, gradually, through the 1990s, other merchants such as phone and electric utilities added this feature and I happily enrolled.


When my dad was unexpectedly laid up in 2017 (following an injury which required surgery and PT), I had to scramble to get his bills paid. I used that opportunity to set up autopay for his main monthly bills like the ones I set up for myself. He liked it so much that when he changed health insurers back in July, he set up autopay to pay the premium. (You can teach an old dog a new trick!)
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Old 09-06-2020, 09:23 AM   #25
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Autopay is important to us because we are often out of the country for three weeks or so. I autopay almost everything. Visa pays itself directly from the bank account. Everything else is from my Schwab checking. Our lake home telephone co. doesn't do electronic billing and the amount varies by a few pennies every month (I don't know why) so I just have them on a flat rate monthly payment schedule. Every year or two I adjust one payment to even up with them plus or minus on the pennies.

I did overpay the garbage hauler by 10x once, due to the dreaded misplaced decimal. They called to let me know and cheerfully cut a check for the overpayment.

About the only place I write checks is to my wine shop. It's a one-man operation, sort of curated, and I don't like to make him eat the the 2-3% that using a card would cost him. So about 1 check every 3 or 4 weeks.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:01 AM   #26
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i use autopay for everything I can, either to my CC or my checking account. I use EFTPS for our estimated tax as well as the state site.
I just looked at my check register, and most checks are birthday gifts to our sons or some charitable donations.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:34 AM   #27
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While I use autopay by the CC, I'm leery of the bank account auto withdrawal.

I know it would be rare, to be wrongly charged, but as 2 folks have stated it has happened.

For about 2 bills, we still manually pay online. When going on a trip, we just schedule a payment of an estimated amount + buffer, which ends up being a credit on the account for the next payment.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:40 AM   #28
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I do have concerns about putting a bill on my bank account auto pay.
A simple mistake of missing decimal point and they would drain the account of an extra few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars.
This would then invoke, other payments bouncing, checks bouncing, and bank fees for low balance and overdraft..

So I don't auto pay with the bank account.
Not Auto-pay but I did do this once while setting up repeating transaction to pay my mortgage, instead of like $2100, I had not put a period and made it out for $210,000 monthly. It of course bounced (thankfully) and my credit union was cool and waived the fees, they got a good chuckle out of it and actually updated the software making it much harder to make that mistake.
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Old 09-06-2020, 12:48 PM   #29
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I just paid our annual property taxes using a CC thanks to Covid-19. The state has waived all charges this year, so I grabbed the points - lots!
I got all excited when I read this as I saw you live in NC.

Apparently this does not apply to my county - Wake. When I googled it, it applies to Mecklenburg county.

Damn it.
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:30 PM   #30
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I just paid our annual property taxes using a CC thanks to Covid-19. The state has waived all charges this year, so I grabbed the points - lots!
Nice!

That is one area I wouldn’t mind doing credit card pay. I got lucky so far. One year, for various reasons, I used their online billpay after investigating their service which was used by many counties and municipalities. It worked fine for me in Dec but in Jan all hell broke loose. Those using their online billpay service got debited multiple times. Some major provider screw up. I’m sure the county tax office got an earful. It did get straightened out in a few days. But I won’t do it that way again.

I will probably try to use my bank bill pay next time. The timing can be tricky, and the county tax office are slow to credit checks received.

The only issue I’ve ever had with my bank bill pay is twice over 15 years or so, a recipient did not receive a check and I’ve had to follow it up. Both times my bank took over once I reported it, and were willing to pay late fees if needed. Fortunately most of my recipients don’t require to be mailed a check.
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:49 PM   #31
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I autopay everything I possibly can and always have. Deployments, moving, long vacations. Never had a problem (knock on wood).

Now for DF we cant autopay his retirement home but through the bank website we can have the bank print and mail the check for free. Even saves me the stamp

Edited to add: we have everything we can autopay to a credit card. Only 3 utilities have to come from checking. Cc is an extra safeguard against error emptying our checking account and also earns us 2.5pct cashback
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:59 PM   #32
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I autopay everything I possibly can and always have. Deployments, moving, long vacations. Never had a problem (knock on wood).

Now for DF we cant autopay his retirement home but through the bank website we can have the bank print and mail the check for free. Even saves me the stamp

Edited to add: we have everything we can autopay to a credit card. Only 3 utilities have to come from checking. Cc is an extra safeguard against error emptying our checking account and also earns us 2.5pct cashback
I assume you can set up the autopay as a recurring monthly payment? Thatís how I set things up for DF.
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Old 09-06-2020, 06:51 PM   #33
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I'm all for simplifying our finances. If I could I would put all credit cards and Verizon and Medicare on auto payments. DW does all the bill paying and is leery, loss of control she says. From what I see you have control by way of email notification of upcoming debits or charges.
Was wondering if folks on FIRE use auto pay? Any concerns?

Thanks
we've got as many bills as possible and all income on auto pay/deposit. i'm amazed at the number of vendors we have that don't offer it and still want a paper check. most of those are small businesses but at least one is a major insurance company.

a monthly e-mail alert is sent by each vendor...utilities, credit card, etc...between 10-20 days out letting me know how much the current charges are and when the auto debit will occur. i enter the upcoming debit into Quicken just like i would a check. we've been doing this for many, many years and in all that time only one error has occured. our electric utility failed to auto debit our bill one month and again the next month. i caught it and sent a check. enquired why this happened but got a virtual shrug of the shoulders from a ComEd CSR. had to re-enroll and all has been well since. that was easily 15+ years ago. SS and pension are auto deposited like clockwork and my paycheck had been on auto deposit for several years before i retired. auto dep/debit allows us to travel in our MH for months at a time. IMO this is the greatest thing since....well, you know.

btw...we set up auto debit with each vendor rather than thru our bank.
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Old 09-06-2020, 10:16 PM   #34
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All my bills are autodebited from my checking account. I know the risk, but have not had a single problem in 15 years. And if a problem happened probably either the bank or biller would fix it with minor hassle, or I might end up paying some junk fee - worth if for 15 years of automation.

All my credit cards are set up to autopay full amount on due date.

I use Quicken balance projections like @pb4uski to monitor how much money I need in there. I used to be more aggressive about moving back and forth between saving and checking, but not worth bothering about now with low interest rates.

I also have been switching everything over to paperless billing. I used to worry that I needed the paper bill to make sure I could keep track of everything. But then I realized I can use an email about the bill in the same way just as easily. Risk of losing an email is probably roughly the same as losing a bill in the mailbox or recycle bin or whatever.

Have Quicken bill reminders set up for everything, so even the handful of paper checks a year are monitored that way. I can set all those up either in the bank's ebill stuff (for professional ones) or Paypal (for family and friends), so I really don't think I'll write more than two or three checks a year from now on.
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Old 09-06-2020, 11:12 PM   #35
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I use Autopay for some things. The risk you want to guard against is that there is some wrongful charge in a huge amount and it drains your bank account. You can mitigate against this if you can cancel the Autopay before it happens.

In my experience, AutoPay dates tend to be of 3 varieties:

1. Based immediately when billed -- Avoid these if there is any possibility of an unexpected amount. Classic examples are some times I have heard of utility errors were people were charged amounts in the thousands. I would not want that to go to autopay. But if it autopays immediately, then you can't guard against that.

2. Billed on a date you select. I prefer this. I usually pick a date midway between when billed and when due. I have enough time to check and cancel if need be and can fix any problems if the auto pay doesn't happen for some reason.

3. Paid on the due date. I don't like these because I do worry about some error. But, at least it gives me a chance to fix things.

So -- I don't like to use autopay for utility bills unless it will occur late enough I can cancel it if a problem.

For credit cards I usually set the auto pay for the minimum payment. I actually pay the full amount each month but I just do the minimum payment in case I am unexpectedly ill or something.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:23 AM   #36
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I just paid our annual property taxes using a CC thanks to Covid-19. The state has waived all charges this year, so I grabbed the points - lots!
Cha-Ching! Made me look but our county is still charging 2.45% for credit card payment vs. $1.50 for ACH from checking or savings.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:35 AM   #37
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The added surcharge for credit card used for property taxes is evil.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:41 AM   #38
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The added surcharge for credit card used for property taxes is evil.
To be fair, the town has to pay a merchant fee to the credit card company.
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Old 09-07-2020, 10:59 AM   #39
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We do auto pay on all accounts that offer it as a payment option (at no added cost/fee). We have done this for as long as I can recall. If OP is unsure about the process, just sign up for only one payment (perhaps a CC) and see how it works for you. After that, you can add one at a time until you are 100% auto. Just make sure there is enough in the checking account to clear all auto-checks monthly.
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:12 AM   #40
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The added surcharge for credit card used for property taxes is evil.
why should other taxpayers subsisize that cost? if you don't want to pay the fee then write a check.
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