⅓ of seniors in America do not use any kind of online bill pay service. Considering that many of those seniors go out and buy a money order to pay their bills, you can see how the issue becomes a little “covid-y” during flare ups. That’s why experts are urging seniors and their families to switch to other methods before the covid season starts to heat up.
Sometimes people are confused by the term “bill pay.” It could mean many things, and is not great grammar, but when banks say it, they’re actually referring to a page on the website. You have to set up your bill pay with all of your vendor account numbers to create profiles for each bill. This will make subsequent months very easy to pay.
My recommendation is not to set up automatic payment on any of your bills, with the exception of your mortgage. A lot of electric and gas companies are doing the hard sell to their customers about signing over their checking accounts to the utility. Energy bills vary widely, and I always wonder how many people get into trouble using automatic payment. Mortgage and car payments are more static with the amount due and considering how much is riding on it, I would pay them automatically.
Don’t fall into a trap where you trust your bank and forget to double check them. We are experienced bookkeepers, and we spend hours dealing with bank mistakes every month. I would say it’s wise to reconcile bill pay transactions once a month with your other accounts.
Using bill pay is not an all-or-nothing proposition; you can use it for as many or as few bills as you want. One thing you really, really should do online is your taxes. I think most of us already know that, but there are a lot of seniors who still wish to do everything on paper. Again, with covid resurging, why not just file online?
I think people who have not yet embraced bill pay will be pleasantly surprised if they decide to try it out. At JHA we’re interested in efficiency — but our clients call the shots. That’s sort of the whole philosophy behind our Lifestyle Concierge service.
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