Paying bills is rarely fun or easy. Paying electronically makes the task easier and helps prevent mistakes, but you don't want to pay extra to pay online. Fortunately, there are several ways to pay bills for free.
The best option for free bill pay is probably your bank. If you have a checking account, it’s likely that your bank offers online bill pay. You can set up a list of payees and have your bank send checks (or electronic payments), and those payments can go out automatically or only when you request them.
Using your bank is a great way to start paying online while keeping control over the process - if you need to stop paying or pay from a different account, all you need to do is login to your bank account and make the necessary changes.
- Learn how to use your bank's online bill payment service
Most service providers (such as mortgage, insurance, and utility companies) let you pay your bill for free by setting up ACH payments. With that approach, the service provider pulls money from your bank account each time a payment is due (with no involvement on your part). To set this up, you provide bank information to them and give them permission to take the money as needed.
For more details on the process, see How ACH Debit WorksThis route takes less work each month, but you give service providers direct access to your bank account. They may accidentally take too much, or they may pull funds at a bad time - when your account is temporarily empty - resulting in overdraft charges. Make sure you have plenty of extra cash on hand or overdraft protection if you use this option.
Free Bill Pay Services
Several personal finance software providers offer free bill pay, but they usually aren't "free". You may need a premium subscription, or you may only get free bill pay for a limited time.
MyCheckFree is a truly free bill pay service allowing you to pay eBills to selected service providers. For more details, including the pros and cons, see below: