You’ve probably been asked whether you wanted paper or plastic at the grocery store but not when it comes to utility billing solutions. How do you pay your bills, the traditional route by sending a paper check in the mail or with plastic, by using a credit card to make an online or over the phone bill payment? Bills are a fact of life that will always have to be paid, but there are many ways that you can make the process easier, simpler, faster, and overall much more efficient. This is something utility billing services are striving towards every single day.
May still be doing this, but do you remember the good old days of having printing and mailing bills and the stress that came with having to make the payment on time? You had to make sure the funds were actually in your account and there was no such thing as online banking at the time so it was nearly impossible to instantly check your bank balance. In addition, there was the stress of having to mail your payment a few days before it was actually due in order to ensure the utility billing services got it on time. What if you didn’t have a stamp? Yikes!
Nowadays, paying bills on time is so much easier thanks to utility billing services making online payment easier and faster than ever. Although online bill payment is easy and secure, it has gained a bad reputation due to the constant threat of data hackers and thieves who have been known to break into the computerized systems of utility billing services in order to steal the billing information of unsuspecting customers. These unfortunate instances are becoming fewer and fewer, as utility billing services continue to up the ante in terms of cyber security and safety.
However it’s important to realize that identity theft is still a very real threat that many traditional bill payers face. The United States Postal Service estimates that identity theft affects up to 9.9 million Americans each year. Printed bills contain sensitive billing and personal information that thieves can easily retrieve.
Every bill you receive in the mail or send off is an opportunity for thief to steal your personal billing information! But these unfortunate opportunities are limited to the mailbox. Dumpster diving is another common way that data thieves steal information. If you must dispose of sensitive material, it’s always recommended to shred documents so their impossible to steal information from them.
Another reason why more and more utility billing services encourage customers to take advantage of paperless billing is that it’s easier on the environment and much better for it. The process to create the paper which bills are printed on is expensive, taxing on the environment, and drives costs up for everyone involved. For example, did you know that the industrial activities related to printing and making the paper bills are printed on are ranked high among major contributors to greenhouse gases. In addition, the paper and pulp industry ranks number one for water consumption. Keep in mind that water is not an infinite resource, which is why water conservation has become such an important issue!
In addition to being better for the environment, paperless and online billing is also much better for you! Did you know that up to 23% of Americans incur late fees because of misplacing or losing their paper bills? Late fees can add up quickly and they can also have a negative impact on your credit. Not all creditors will report you to the credit bureaus for being a few days late, but keep in mind that they have the right to do so. Cash may be king but credit is what makes the world go round!
Setting up automatic bill payment through your utility billing service is a great way to avoid having to remember when to pay a bill on time or the struggle of trying to find it so you can mail it out on time. It also saves you plenty of money on stamps, which can quickly add up too!