Using an online bill pay service from a reputable financial institution such as your bank or a well-known bill pay site is safer than handing your credit card to a waitress after a restaurant meal. This is because these services take strong measures to keep your data secure while a person can easily lift your credit card or checking account information and use it to make unauthorized purchases.
Answer: Online bill pay is safe when you choose the right bill payment service. Typically, an online bill pay service that is backed by a bank or a company that provides online banking services will be safe and reliable.
Tips for Using Online Bill Pay Safely
- Don't respond to any bill pay service that asks for personal or financial information directly from an email. Instead of clicking on email links, go directly out to the website and log in to update information.
- Read the privacy or security policy of the bill pay service you're considering. The policy should mention strong data encryption and other measures used to protect you.
- Don'tt pay bills from a link in an email. Go out to the bill pay site and log in to make payments.
- If a bill pay site offers to save the user name password for your account, bypass the offer. Always enter this information yourself.
- After you pay bills online, log out of your account to prevent anyone from accessing it if you leave your computer.
- When using online bill pay services, it's a good idea to password protect your computer to at the operating system level. If you need to know how to do this, read How to Set Up Windows Passwords or How to Create Mac User Accounts.
- Always use antivirus and firewall software.
- Most online banking and bill pay service require you to answer some questions or to verify an image you selected earlier in addition to logging in with your user name and password. This can slow you down a bit, but it adds another layer of security.