You can pay bills by phone using a variety of direct accounts and third-party apps. Not only can you make one-time payments, but you can also set up autopay for some accounts to make sure you don't miss payment deadlines, rack up late fees and damage your credit. Reviewing how to pay bills by phone will help you keep your personal finances on track, your credit history in good shape and your credit score where it should be.
Consider also: History of Mobile Banking
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Direct vs. Third-Party Payments
You can make payments directly to a business using your credit card or bank account via the company's financial system. The payment goes directly from you to the business. An example of a direct payment would be paying your electric bill using your checking account.
You can also use a third-party personal finance app to make payments to businesses. The app acts as a middleman, drawing money from one of your financial accounts and sending it to the billing company. An example of a third-party payment would be using Chime or Venmo to set up payments to one or more companies you do business with.
Consider also: What Is Virtual Banking?
Using Banking Apps
If you have a savings or checking account, your bank, credit union or credit card issuer might offer a mobile app you can use to register your account and perform a variety of tasks, including paying bills. You can usually download banking apps from Google Play or the Apple Store.
After you download the app, you'll need to set up your account, providing personal information such as:
- Your account number
- Your Social Security number
- Your card PIN or security code
- Your full name
- Your email address
- Your phone number
- Your mailing address
Once you have set up your account, review the different features it offers. You can check balances and recent transactions, make one-time payments, set up auto payments, transfer funds from one account to another or freeze your account if you suspect fraud.
Follow the directions for making one-time payments or setting up auto payments for accounts like your mortgage or rent, car loan, student loan, utilities, Internet service or your monthly phone bill.
Using Third-Party Apps
According to PYMNTS.com, 80 percent of consumers have a third-party financial app linked to their bank accounts. Some payments apps are limited in the features they offer, while others are more robust personal finance tools that allow you to handle most of your money issues without having to open a checking or savings account.
Apps that are primarily used for sending and receiving money often link to a checking or savings account, or a credit card. Examples include Zelle (used by Bank of America for money transfers and payments), Cash App, Google Pay and Venmo.
Examples of apps that offer more features, such as accepting paycheck deposits, viewing your credit score and making payments include Chime and Mint (although the other apps mentioned are increasing the number of features they offer). You can use these apps with a credit card, rather than linking to your bank account.
Consider also: How to Stop an Automatic Deduction From Your Bank
Setting up Auto Payments
If you don't want to have to make recurring payments manually each time (such as utility bills), you can set up auto payments. You'll need to provide your app with the information to do so, which requires following the directions provided by the payee (such as your electric company). Instead of giving your app the payment information, you'll give the payee your app information.
The business that's billing you will then use your app as the conduit to get its money. You can use an app to take money from your checking or savings account for your auto payments, have money charged to a credit card or link to a third-party financial app (which is already tied to one of your bank or credit card accounts).