Thursday, March 15, 2007

Online Bill-Pay: Almost burned

Lavie has been on me for a very long time, working hard to convince me of the value of paying our bills on line.

I was a hard-cookie to crack.

Until I got burned a few times by the mail service. See I usually mail my bills out at least a week in advance....more if it falls during a holiday when mail may be slow or delayed.

The last straw was when I mailed a gasoline company bill in, ten days in advance, and it ended up getting credited to my account two days past due (12 days from when I mailed it). I watch our credit standing pretty closely, and even a single late payment once a year gives me a bit of grief.

I needed more control over confirming the bill processing was occurring timely so I gave in...and Lavie's wisdom is now appreciated. I now pay close to 95% of our bills on-line. And it usually goes very smoothly. I still pay a few days in advance of the payment due dates, but I really like getting those transaction confirmation numbers! Sweet!

No more late payments.

Except tonight (almost).

It's that crazy gas card account again.

Unlike ALL my other bills, I cannot pay this one MAJOR gas company's gas-card bill directly to them. All my other payments are made direct to the issuer, but this ONE company requires that I use a third-party payer to make my transactions...and it MUST be scheduled several days in advance. No same-day payments here.

So today, six days early, I go online to schedule my gas-card bill payment.

Only when I log in, it says my account cannot be used to make a payment until I re-confirm my ebill with them. OK. Been using for a year with no issues. Must be a new thing.

So I go to the list of companies listed to indicate the account for my ebill...except there is a hitch this time...see, the gas company's name is not in the list; anywhere!

So I check my paper bill and it clearly shows the web address (which I was using) is where I need to log in. I did. But again, looking through the list of companies signed with them, the gas-company is now nowhere on the list, even though my paper bill says this is where I need to still go to pay online.

What gives?

So tomorrow I will write a paper check and mail in my bill, hopefully six-days snail-mail time will be sufficient.

I know that the gas-company's credit cards are actually managed by another party...even though they carry that name. And this particular company's credit issuer was sold to another bank/credit I am hopeful that this is just a glitch during the transition process.

I really hope the new credit-issuer will allow me to pay them directly, instead of this third-party stuff.

Still, if I hadn't been in the habit of scheduling the online payments early...I would have had to mail it in and certainly would have been late.

I just hope this one makes it in, in time.

Almost burned again...


1 comment:

Michael said...

Claus - I've been an on-line bill payer for many years. I use Checkfree and they guarentee on-time payment if you schedule properly. I have all the bills I can delivered electronically and get e-mails telling me when I have a new electronic bill to pay. I really like having all the data. This system came in very handy when I evacuated to Dallas during Rita. I was able to keep current from any PC. Anyway, I think you will like paying your bills electronically; you should listen to the wise Lavie. BTW, hope you are getting a great price for the gasoline from that company - otherwise, dump 'em!