Everyone from your bank to your brokerage, from the cable company to your credit card, wants you to switch to automatic bill payments.
And it sure is convenient: you never have to worry about being late with a payment.
But a new report says there are some bills you should never automate.
MoneyWatch.com says "auto pay" is great for fixed bills like mortgage and car loans. You'll never accidentally miss a bill and ding your credit.
But MoneyWatch says you may want to think twice before autopaying your:
- Cell phone bill
- Landline phone bill
- Gas and Electric bill
- Gym membership
The report says there's too great a chance for you to miss an overcharge, or a charge that continues long after you cancel.
Instead, it suggests you stick with e-paying electronically, either through your bank's website or the company's website. With e-pay, you have to look at each month's bill, and click to send a payment.
Doesn't that stink?
And from the "doesn't that stink" file, why autopaying can lead to much higher cell phone, utility, and cable bills.
When you find out how much you're spending, you may say "doesn't that stink?"
MoneyWatch.com says if you autopay, you don't inspect your phone bill carefully every month, you may go over on minutes and texts.
If you don't look at your electric bill, you may set the air conditioning much too cold, and use more electricity than you really should.
And with cable, you may order too many movies on demand, not really realizing how much each one is costing you.
The Consumer Federation of America agrees with the MoneyWatch report, suggesting you avoid automating any bill that can fluctuate wildly from month to month.
You may go months without noticing an unusual increase, or noticing that they never stopped billing when you canceled.
That way you don't waste your money.