I preach automation of finances regularly, but have yet myself to fully automate my finances. I am still not completely comfortable with one aspect of automation…that is bill pay. The only reason for my lack of total automation is the income fluctuation in my budget. Some months, I pay what is due while other months see over payments or payment intended for principal.
If Not Bill Pay, then How?
Although I do not use bill pay services through my bank, I do pay all of my bills online. I prefer a paperless system of finance, which online payments provide. I use a spreadsheet system to track all of my payments and (more importantly) the confirmation numbers from said payments. I do have every intention of employing the convenience and ease that comes with bill pay in the future, but it will be when my budget is not quite as tight.
My Problem With Online Payments-
I really do enjoy the quickness that manual online payments allows, but at the same time, it is flawed. I’m a sucker for overpayment. With frequency, I pay “too much” on my phone bill, electric bill, and my car payment. My car loan is through Capital One, and their online system for accepting payments is great…with one major exception: I can not make payments to the principal of my loan online! I fully realize that loan companies would prefer their customers to not pay their loans off early, as they lose profits on interest (if the company allows penalty free early payoff)…but for the silent majority of us who would like to make principal payments to our loans, at least give us an option.
How to Fix This:
All I’m looking for is an option. I understand that early payoff is not ideal for profits. I also understand that many people do not even understand what a principal payment is. If a company excludes the option online for either of these reasons, color me disappointed. A simple explanation of the difference of principal payments and interest payments will deter any accidental credits as the wrong type of payment, so that should not be an issue. So what is stopping you?
Do you deal with any companies who do allow online principal payments? (I do not, so I’m looking to find out if there actually are any at all). If you do, how is the system set up to allow these payments? Is there a warning when you make them that states the difference in clear language? If so, I would like to know who it is. If you would rather not comment on the companies you deal with, send me an email with the company name. (I will not publish emails about this topic). Maybe I will see about switching who I deal with in the future based on the options they give for payment types.