Just about every financial institution, utlity and service for which payment is required can be set up for automatic withdrawl bill payment, or payment to a credit card. The credit card can then be paid by automatic bank withdrawl.
You will receive notifications of statement availability online, sent to your email account.
About what part of the process do you have concerns?
We have some items paid automatically while others I always want to review the bill first or simply do not trust the vendor with the capability to auto-deduct from my account. For those, I make online payments from my bank account after I see/hear the amount of the bill and also the details, if necessary. Many, many businesses make their monthly statements available online and the rest can be obtained by phone. Online payments from your bank account is easy and surely at least as safe as mailing around paper checks. Cheaper too, in most cases.
We do exactly what Gary has described. We're fortunate that our bank offers free on line banking and bill paying. While traveling, we use our Verizon cell phone/laptop/internet to keep track of all our credit cards and bills. Just make sure to make a good list of all the expenses you have to keep track of and the dates each month that they need to be paid. It's become a way of life now, even when we're at our homebase.
We have all of our credit cards set up to pay the minimum payment just in case we miss a bill. We typically go online and pay the balance but it's nice to know we won't get dinged with late fees if we miss a bill. Also, all our utilities, house payment, and motorhome payment are all set up for auto pay. A box of checks now lasts us forever.
I use a service call Paytrust. All bills are sent to Paytrust and paid from my home bank account. I have used this service for several years and am very happy. It costs $13 per month. They e-mail me when a bill is received and paid. I set the rules for payment example: pay the utility bill in full if its less than $200, if more hold for approval. I can go several weeks without looking at the activity in my paytrust account. I have online banking for my home account so I can see the activity in the account.The only problem I have is if I get an unusual bill like a Dr bill or hospital bill. As long as it take to bill me I let them wait until I pick up my mail. Look at PAYTRUST.COM. Hope this helps.
Does your bill paying service receive the bills. Or do you get the bill and initiate the payment from your banks online bill paying service? I probably could save the $13 by doing a better job of having the bills debited directly to the bank account. But this has worked well for me. I've used the service for several yrs. Yrs ago the bank charged a fee for their online banking, now its free.
We have our credit card paid automatically each month and some bills are automatically charged to the credit card. Others are set up to draw from our checking account. With all the free services anybody that charges $13 a month is just ripping you off since these service are available free elsewhere.
This is how we did it when we went full time last June.
1. Sell the house.
2. Use a PC and Quicken
3. Eliminate ALL paper billing and have all bills accessed electronically
4. Set up bill pay at your web capable bank. I prefer to push a button to make the payment, but auto pay will work fine.
5. download credit cards and bank accounts daily.
6. Use both cell phone and satellite access to the Internet.
7. Be religious about backing up data.
I would not recommend paying any bills via direct debit to your checking account. If that information is compromised, anyone possessing that information can then access all the funds in the account. There is no limit to liability as there is with a credit card in the case of fraud.
We do have our bank, Wells Fargo, pay bills on our behalf by setting up the payment via Quicken. Most recurring charges are automatically applied to a credit card and the credit card is paid from WF, again, via Quicken.
Paytrust offers more than just bill-paying, so there is some extra value for their monthly fee. Whether the extra services are valuable enough to justify the fee is a matter of personal choice, but I can see where their "bill management" services would be a boon to those who cannot or simply do not check their accounts frequently. If you were going to be out of touch for months (on safarii in the Outback?) their services might be quite valuable.
"There is no limit to liability as there is with a credit card in the case of fraud." That used to be true, but now at many banks, including ours, they are just as safe as credit cards, in terms of bank protection in case of compromise.
It's very difficult to get your money back if it's been removed from your bank account. The bank has no recourse like the credit card companies do with the vendors. You may get your money back, but it will be a long and drawn out legal process and if the thief is overseas, good luck.
It was not at all hard Ned. Last year we lost $7,000. We had it back before we even asked for it. However it took the bank and the card agency several months to track down the culprits. They would call us occasionally for information. Sharon was very involved with it. But while all of this was going on, we already had our money back. Technically we were supposed to be out the first $50, but they said not to worry about it. And this was on our bank debit card.
Though I am still stuck in my home and not on the road we use the online payment system extensively. It is easier, quicker and much less hassle. I was talking to my RV dealer who advised many lenders will not finance a fulltimer without a fixed home. That surprised me as it seems almost all the folks I have met on the road are very upright people and would be horrified at not meeting their debts. Perhaps not all institutions are in love with the RV Lifestyle!?
There are liability limits on debit cards, as there are on credit cards, but if you have given someone permission to directly debit your account, and that information is used to fraudently remove funds from your account, it's not that easy to get it back. Different situation completely in that case.