Problems with Automatic Bill Payments

I remember the first time that I was given the option to pay my insurance premium by automatic monthly draft. Frankly, I was not sure that I wanted that to happen. It went well in spite of my reservations. The draft came through on the right date or later every month. That’s so much for the good news.

Since then, I have had drafts that come through from other companies from the date agreed upon to several days early. Some companies will not send the draft through on the correct date if it is a holiday. They will back it up so that the transaction occurs before that date. This is done to prevent them from being paid late. The reason for the change is that in many cases, it is no longer an electronic check that comes through, but a fund transfer. In this way, the company can have their money on the date it is initiated. It also gives them the ability to verify funds are available immediately. This lets them win and you lose.

Another lesson that I had to learn was that with automatic payments you have to cancel them a month early because they tend to coast to a stop. I once had a $250 insurance payment come through several weeks after I had cancelled it. After over a year of trying to recover it and receiving many appologies for the problem, I finally wrote it off.

I have solved the problem partially by establishing another bank account at a bank that gives free checking. All of my drafts come through that account. I only use it for that purpose and fund it once a month for the drafts. You may say it’s not very automatic, but it works for me.