It is amazing how many people are broadsided when they have their credit reports pulled for a new loan. Your credit score plays a major role in determining whether you can get the best loan and interest rate when you go to borrow money or apply for credit. Since 35% of your credit score reflects how well you pay your bills on time, it is worth it to make sure they are paid on time! Even with the best intentions you might inadvertently miss a payment while on vacation, misplace a bill or simply forget. One way to ensure against missed payments is to set up automatic bill payments. Three easy options are to set up your bill pay accounts using direct debit, use online banking to set up a recurring payments or use eBills.
- Direct debit. Some lenders or creditors offer a service which you can authorize the company to directly debit your bank account every month (quarter, etc) to pay the full balance of your bill. You merely give them your bank account number, routing number and the billed amount is drawn from your account automatically on a specified date.
- Online Recurring payments. Use your online banking system to set up recurring payments to your creditors. Through these systems you provide the name, address and account number of the company to be paid, along with the amount to pay, due date and they will pay automatically.
- eBills. The eBill system is used by many different types of companies and delivers bills to you online through email. If your bank participates in eBills, you may set up automatic payments when those eBills arrive. Otherwise, you can go to the company’s website to make your payment.
If you choose not to set up automatic payments, it is always a good idea to note the bill due dates (put the due date 7 days earlier than the actual date) on both the outside of the bill envelope as well as your electronic or paper calendar. Just do not forget! It will not only cost you in late fees, but interest rates down the road.