Digital Bill Payments – Perfect for Social Distancing and ANYTIME
Together Credit Union
Pier Yvette Alsup – Chief Community Engagement Officer
We all have bills to pay … from gas and electricity to cell phones and auto loans to rent and mortgage payments. And yes, to the babysitter, lawn care service and even your children! Digital bill payments are a convenient and safe ways to pay without writing a check or handling cash.
While convenient anytime, digital payment options have become essential as we practice social distancing. Simply stated, there are three categories of digital bill payments: online and mobile banking offerings, payment apps, and direct payments via a lender or vendor website.
Online & Mobile Banking – most financial institutions offer online and mobile banking, and within these services is typically a bill pay service. With online and mobile bill pay, you can make single or recurring payments directly from your checking account, without ever writing a check! Typically, you can pay most anyone and any vendor from your financial institution’s online and mobile banking bill pay service. Using bill pay has its advantages as your payments are centralized and there is no need to share your account information with merchants or vendors.
Payment Apps – there are a wide variety of payment apps, each designed to make sending payments quick and easy. Most commonly, consumers use these apps to send money to family and friends. The most familiar of these apps include Zelle, PopMoney, Venmo and PayPal. You’ll often find PopMoney and Zelle within financial institution online and mobile banking services. Payment apps popularity has risen over the past several years as they make giving (sending) money to family and friends easy, without the need for cash. And, more often than not, there is typically no fees to transfer or receive funds. (Of course, it is always important to read and understand the terms and conditions of use as well as protection provided for any app you use.)
Direct Payments via a Merchant Website – many utility companies, cell phone and credit card companies offer the ability to make direct payments via their individual websites. This can be a quick and easy way to make a payment or two, however if you have multiple bills to pay, the bill pay service in your financial institution’s online and mobile banking will be more convenient and provide you with one, centralized view of all your obligations. If making a payment via a merchant’s web site, be certain to confirm if you can make the payment directly from your checking account or if you must use a debit or credit card to make the payment. Debit and credit card transactions often come with a fee, so beware. It’s also important to confirm the merchant’s payment site is secure. You can check the SSL certificate for their site by looking for a “lock” in the browser or the “https” in the URL.
No matter what digital payment option works best for you, it is important to use strong, unique passwords – ones that include upper and lower case letters plus numbers and characters. And if biometric security options like fingerprint or face recognition are available, consider using them as well for additional protection.
For more information on payments, online and mobile banking and ways to protect your identity such as strong, unique passwords, visit Together Credit Union online today!
Together Credit Union is federally insured by NCUA. Membership eligibility required.