How and Why to Start Using E-bills with Your Credit Union

How and Why to Start Using E-bills with Your Credit Union

These days, banking has mostly gone online and mobile. In 2013, more than half of adults in the U.S. did some amount of banking online, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center. By 2014, more than half of adults were using their smartphones to bank online, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Reserve Board. Of those adults, around 48 percent were using their phones for e-bills and online payments. With e-bills, you can schedule payments for whatever bills you have due, either using a computer or a smartphone. If you haven't started using online payments yet, now's a great time to start.

The Why of E-Bill Pay

Scheduling and paying most or even all of your bills through your credit union offers several benefits. One of the biggest reasons to skip the paper bills and pay online is that you'll reduce the amount of paper in your life. When you sign up for online bill pay, you can ask your utility company to send the e-bill directly to your credit union, instead of mailing you the traditional paper bill. You won't only be saving trees, you'll reduce the amount of clutter in your life and won't have to spend time recycling all those paper bills. The bills go right to the e-bill service each month, which sends you a reminder when payment is due.

Another major perk of using online bill payment is that you can set it and forget it. Your credit union allows you to schedule automated payments, so that you won't wake up in a cold sweat one night, wondering if you paid the cable or water bill.

The How of E-Bill Pay

While setting up e-bill payments can simplify your life, you do need to set it up. The first step is establishing an online account with your credit union, if you don't have one already. Your online account is connected to your existing credit union account. The next step is to sign up the bills you want to pay online through the system.

To do that, you'll need the account number and other details of the accounts you'll want to pay through e-bills. All of that information should be on your most recent bill from company. Once you've put in the basic account information for each bill you want to pay online, you can decide to pay just once or set up a recurring payment. You get to pick the time line for any recurring payments, such as paying on the due date each month or paying as soon as the bill is available.

Things to Think About Before Signing Up

Online or mobile bill payments can help simplify your life. For example, one reporter for Kiplinger found e-bill services to be particularly useful after she had a baby and had a lot less time on her hands.

But there are a few important things to consider before you put your bill payments on auto-pilot. One is that there's the risk for overdrawing your account or of not having enough money in the bill pay account when things are due. Having a cushion in your credit union checking account can help protect you from insufficient funds, as can setting a budget so that you always have the money on hand when bills are due.

Another potential issue with setting and forgetting your bill payments is that you might not realize what you're spending on bills each month. If you automate your credit card bills and variable utility bills, you may not realize when those bills creep up. One way to avoid bill creep is to still pay attention to your spending and to create a budget to keep yourself on track.

If you've ever forgotten to pay a bill by its due date or are just looking for a way to minimize the amount of paper in your life, it's time to join the 21st century and explore the e-bill, online and mobile banking options available at your credit union. Contact Coosa Valley Credit Union to learn more about our e-services today.