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Old 09-05-2020, 10:27 PM   #1
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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
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Old 09-05-2020, 10:34 PM   #2
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I do autopay as many bill as I can via credit cards.
  1. It's no worry as I get notified for each charge by email when it happens.
  2. I can see the account online before the payment date, and could stop auto pay of credit card if I wanted.
  3. Finally I can dispute anything paid by the credit card even after it is paid.
Some folks take it a step farther, and set autopay of the credit card to the minimum, I don't bother and autopay the entire credit card statement, so I won't ever forget (or on trip) and end up paying interest.
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Old 09-05-2020, 10:41 PM   #3
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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
I auto pay my credit card, cell phone, and other regular payments by automatic deductions from my checking account. Medicare is deducted from my Social Security payment so I don't have to autopay it.

I have used autopay as much as I can, for two decades now, and never had any errors. It's easy. It has helped my credit rating since I tend to be forgetful.
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Old 09-05-2020, 10:54 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 09-05-2020, 11:11 PM   #5
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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.
That's fine. There are several of us here who do this with no horrific consequences. Always read the fine print.
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:09 AM   #6
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I auto pay my credit card, cell phone, and other regular payments by automatic deductions from my checking account. Medicare is deducted from my Social Security payment so I don't have to autopay it.

I have used autopay as much as I can, for two decades now, and never had any errors. It's easy. It has helped my credit rating since I tend to be forgetful.
+1, exactly as we’ve done for many years, and we’ve never had an error. We don’t have any recurring bills that aren’t automatic deductions (or autopay for the few who won’t accept auto deductions). And we have alerts on our credit cards so we know immediately when a charge is made.
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Old 09-06-2020, 01:15 AM   #7
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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.
How often does that happen? If it was the banks error, there wouldn’t be any fees. If was a merchants error, they’d ultimately be responsible.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by kannon View Post
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
I do on most credit cards which tend to be consistent or under a certain amount so I know they are going to be covered by typically maintained balances, but not on the main one which is highly variable and can sometimes be quite large.

I still review each statement and reconcile it before the bill will be paid. Scheduled recurring payments are updated in Quicken so I always know what is going to be paid over the next month.

Most of my credit cards are automatically paid through ebill scheduled payments, not draft, so I can see the scheduled bill payments, and I auto pay the statement balance on the recent bill. I can edit and change these which I do if I receive a credit in the meantime. Even the couple that are drafted by the issuer tell me what they are going to debit in advance, and I can turn auto pay off at any time.

Any recurring bill we can like cellphone we auto pay by using a credit card.

Medicare we’re trying to set up to pay via bank bill pay from an HSA account. We’re still trying to figure out the timing/lag in terms of crediting the account. The initial payments were done online using the HSA debit card and took about 3 days to draw/credit. Otherwise, Medicare requires the bank to mail a check, and we are watching to see how long it takes to be deposited and then credited in online bill pay history. We didn’t want to use EasyPay directly drafting the HSA account.

Your DW needs to modify her bill paying procedure a bit to verify pending payments and use bank billpay ebills where possible. But since she is doing the bill paying, what does this “simplification” matter to you? It might be a lot of work for her initially. Yes, it does mean less control in some respects. Is she already doing online bill paying? If not, that’s a big transition.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:19 AM   #9
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Some autodebits want to charge a fee when pulling from a credit card. If they want to charge this fee, then their autodebit pulls from a bank checking account. If no fee is charged, then their autodebit pulls from Discover credit card where I get 2% cash back. I have used this methodology for many decades without any issues. The companies come get the payment in lieu of me taking any action to cause the payment.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:40 AM   #10
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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
I'm with you. About 10 years ago on New Year's Day, I sat down and put everything that I could on autopay... to our cash back credit card if I could, otherwise from our checking account. Best thing that I have ever done. All I have to worry about is monitoring our checking account balance to be sure that there will be enough to meet the bills, but I ould have needed to do that anyway.... and I use Quicken's projected balances feature to do that for me.

I've never had a problem or issue. I get a bill and can assess the propriety of the charges long before the autopay happens and object to any overcharges. If it happened and I didn't like the outcome I could cancel the autopay before it happens... so I am still in control.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:45 AM   #11
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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.
I agree with others, this is a stretch, but I guess anything is possible. Even if it did happen, the bank or vendor would likely step up and make things right and most vendors would be understanding since it would be an isolated instance.

I've been doing autopay for 10 years and have never had a problem.
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Old 09-06-2020, 05:50 AM   #12
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I agree with others, this is a stretch, but I guess anything is possible. Even if it did happen, the bank or vendor would likely step up and make things right and most vendors would be understanding since it would be an isolated instance.

I've been doing autopay for 10 years and have never had a problem.
I also donít see how between the credit card issuer telling you that you owe $XYZ and that autopay is on, that you get charged a different amount or a decimal point change, doesnít seem likely. I donít think someone is hand entering any amounts at that point so fat finger errors like missed decimal points donít seem likely.

We have no credit card autopay drafts on our main checking account anyway. Health insurance and gas utility is the only draft on that account. Everything else is pushed via billpay. So weíve taken some measures to protect that account, but never had to deal with a draft error.
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Old 09-06-2020, 06:18 AM   #13
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...Was wondering if folks on FIRE use auto pay? Any concerns?.....Thanks

Main Credit Cards - NO autopay ..... We pay for most things on credit so bills can be high and variable. We have had our credit card numbers (just numbers, not cards) stolen ~13 times over the years. So I check each bill for fradulent charges before paying electronically via our bank account.



Other Bills and minor (car gas) credit cards - YES autopay.... Bills are usually similar amounts each month and not particularly large so we autopay from a cash back credit card or our bank account. We auto pay directly from the bank account only when charge would include added fees for credit card payment.
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Old 09-06-2020, 06:26 AM   #14
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Main Credit Cards - NO autopay ..... We pay for most things on credit so bills can be high and variable. We have had our credit card numbers (just numbers, not cards) stolen ~13 times over the years. So I check each bill for fradulent charges before paying electronically via our bank account.



Other Bills and minor (car gas) credit cards - YES autopay.... Bills are usually similar amounts each month and not particularly large so we autopay from a cash back credit card or our bank account. We auto pay directly from the bank account only when charge would include added fees for credit card payment.
Thatís why DW uses automatic bank deduction whenever possible, CC autopay only when the former isnít an option. The CC points would be nice but weíd rather keep who has our CC numbers to as small a group as possible. YMMV
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Old 09-06-2020, 06:31 AM   #15
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Like most who have posted we autopay everything. Autopay to credit cards where possible, auto debit from checking for two utilities, which don't allow or charge a fee for using cc's and autopay credit card balances from checking. All of our incoming deposits occur on the first of the month and don't fluctuate.

I have arranged the due dates on all credit card Bill's to be the 25th of the month. On the first of the month I thoroughly review the credit card bills, which cut off on the 28th of the previous month, so there is plenty of time to arrange for one time transfers to cover lumpy purchases on the credit cards. In reality I review credit card charges frequently during the month.

There really never are any surprises.
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Old 09-06-2020, 06:49 AM   #16
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I held out for a long time, but about 5 years ago, I put everything that I possibly could on autopay through one of my credit cards, then put that credit card on autopay from my checking account. I've had no problems with it, and I've gotten a lot of mileage points as a consequence. The electric company won't take autopay from a credit card, so that also autopays directly from my bank account. 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. That's a shame, really, because those taxes are close to 20% of our annual spending and I could easily get a couple of great flights out of it.
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Old 09-06-2020, 06:53 AM   #17
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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.
And even then I don't actually write a check... I order a check from my bank to the town for my property taxes.

The only thing I write checks for is friends and acquaintances that I owe money to... and I now use Venmo to do that where I can.
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Old 09-06-2020, 08:27 AM   #18
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And even then I don't actually write a check... I order a check from my bank to the town for my property taxes.

The only thing I write checks for is friends and acquaintances that I owe money to... and I now use Venmo to do that where I can.
Yes. Same with us. We also write checks to our cleaning service twice a month.
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Old 09-06-2020, 08:41 AM   #19
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Been doing auto pay for over 10 years. Almost everything is paid directly from my bank account. Utilities, ISP, etc. I opted not to use a credit card because cards get compromised and you ave to get a new one with a different number, lost in the mail and you don't get to update 55 entities you do business with with the new number etc etc etc, The bank account will never ever change. (Weeeell, hardly ever)

In the 12+ years I have had exactly zero screw-ups with on-time payments or wrong amounts. As someone has mentioned you can inundate yourself with notices, pre-notices, emails etc. Unless you're in a coma there are many opportunities to catch an errors. But mostly you'll just be deleting excessive emails.

My only intervention is with credit card themselves. I have them all set for auto-pay in case I really am in a coma someday. But I always pay them online as soon as they post. I have never been "accidentally on purpose" double billed like the hospital does.
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Old 09-06-2020, 08:42 AM   #20
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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.
Like everything in life, this is a balance. Been doing this for over 20 yrs and have had 2 incidents......only 1 of which is attributed to autopay.
1) Had medical premium autopaid from checking acct. One day a charge not related to the normal charge was deducted. Insurance company was totally
unresponsive and gave no explanation. Went to credit union and disputed the transaction. They were great, reversed the charge ,dealt with the rest.

2) Have mutual fund deposit monthly dividends into checking. One day mutual fund decided to withdraw funds instead......they said because I had signed up for automatic monthly investing .............which I had not. They cancelled that and restored the funds but in the meantime the lean balance I kept in checking caused several other charges to bounce. Again credit union was great and understanding and waived all the charges.

All credit cards are autopaid from checking which has a line of credit in case of overdraft but LOC has never had to be used. So autopay is a great convenience esp if you have multiple credit cards and travel at times. Not entirely riskless but to me well worth the risk. The alternative is to spend your time paying bills and being riskless.
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