If you’re used to paying bills the traditional way, you may be wondering if online payment is necessary… or safe, for that matter.
While there’s nothing wrong with the good old envelope-and-stamp method, it’s fast, easy, and yes, even safe to pay your bills online. Online banking has been around since the 1990s, although it only became widely popular in the early 2000s. These days, most people pay their bills online, but does that mean you should, too?
We talk a lot about the dangers of the world wide web and its plethora of scams and viruses. But believe it or not, paying your bills online is actually one of the safest things you can do on the internet! While no method is ever 100% risk-free, the security and encryption measures put in place by online banks are incredibly comprehensive.
Paying a bill electronically is significantly faster than the traditional method. Online payments reach the payee in under two days, while a paper payment can take up to one business week to arrive. You’ll never have to worry about whether your paper payment got mailed on time.
You can pay an online bill almost anywhere, so long as there’s a viable internet connection. However, it’s best to use a secure connection (i.e. your home internet from S&T rather than a coffee shop, library, or hotel) when possible. A couple of clicks will get you from start to finish, and the payment is withdrawn almost immediately. This effectively makes online banking a one-step process, and you don’t even have to leave your house.
After paying bills for many years, you’ve probably acquired a whole lot of paperwork that you have to organize and file. Online payment not only eliminates the need for storage (your bank provider tracks the expenditures for you!), but it also significantly reduces the amount of paper used in the payment process. Think about it. How much paper is really being used for bills? Probably more than is necessary!
Sure, it might not seem like you’re spending much money to mail your paper bills, but buying stamps and envelopes is bound to add up over time. Most online banks allow you to pay your bills for free.
As with anything you do on the internet, it’s crucial to safeguard yourself against potential issues. Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to protect yourself against security breaches:
- Scammers often attempt to impersonate familiar authorities like your bank or billing company. Never share your banking information in response to an unsolicited call, text, or email, and don’t click links in unsolicited emails or texts, even if they appear to be from a familiar source.
- Use strong passwords and change them periodically.
- Use secure networks like your home Wi-Fi or ethernet to make online bill payments.
Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed decision about online banking! Are you ready to put the paper behind you?