Online Bill Payment

I’ve used Money with my local bank for years to pay bills. And before that used Checkfree. I’ve become increasingly unhappy with Money as it seems to have a lot of database corruption problems. And my bank is screwing me on fees. So it is time to look around for alternatives.

I found one review site of online billpay products — Online Bill Paying Product Reviews and Reports by Consumer Search – This seems to summarize all the services that include bill presentment in some form. Paymybills has been folded into Paytrust since this review. I kind of like the idea of electronic bill presentment but the costs are nontrivial — basically $1 per bill presented and paid thru the system. That is a steep price to pay for the convenience of all online bill handling. I do 40-50 bills a month easily, it is going to cost me close to $50 a month for the service. Maybe I can get smarter about setting up autopay thru a credit card for some of my bills to get the volume down.

Checkfree is cheaper — free! — but only handles online bill presentment for a limited number of vendors. But the price is compelling.

Then there are all the bank offerings. For instance Citibank or BofA. Bill paying is free with an account with either one. Citibank additionally has bill presentment, pricing similar to paytrust. Citibank was rated #1 in some Forbes 2002 Best of Web review.

Finally the portals have offerings. MSN Bill Pay is free for their very limited set of participating billers, but costs $.50 a transaction after that. Bill presentment from a very small set of billers. Yahoo Bill Pay looks similar, $.40 a transaction tho. Basically they save you the hassle of buying stamps and envelopes for a very small premium.

So I am not sure what to do. Path A: go whack on my current bank and get them to drop all their fees so they are in line with citibank and bofa. Solves my cost problem but still stuck with money. Path B: Use Yahoo Bill Pay — pretty cheap. Path C: Switch to Citibank and get the lowest cost for most bills plus the option of paying for online bill presentment. I need to think about. Switching banks is a PITA.