1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What is Online Bill Pay?

By

Learn more about online bill payment services.

Online Bill Pay

Getty Images / Steve Cole

Online bill pay is an electronic payment service that allows you to set up a secure online account to make one time or recurring bill payments. The source of funds for the payments is usually a checking account, but some bill pay services also work with credit cards. All bills and transactions are accessed on the bill pay website.

Tips for Choosing Online Bill Pay Services:

Electronic Funds Transfer vs. Check
It's best to set up payments with companies that will accept the payments electronically, but online bill pay services can cut and mail a check when electronic payments are not accepted. Be sure to all extra time and plan ahead - usually five business days - for the check to be cut and mailed.

Cost
There are some very good free online bill payment services. If you want more features, like the ability to view months worth of bills online, you will probably have to use an online bill pay provider that charges a monthly fee. This cost is worth it for most people, considering the elimination of the cost of postage and checks otherwise used to pay bills. Alternatively, you may have access to free online bill pay features through online banking offered at a financial institution you already hold an account at.

Read The Best Online Bill Pay Services to get some free and paid options.

Is Online Bill Pay Safe?
In a word: yes. Transactions and other personal and financial information are heavily encrypted for the customer's safety. Follow these tips for paying bills online to make using the service even safer.

Is Online Bill Pay for You?
If you have bills from several different sources as most people do, online bill pay is worth the time to set up and the potential cost, which is low. If you only pay two or three bills each month, free online bill pay is a great idea, or see if you can pay those few bills for free directly at the payee's website.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.