“You can pay this online.”
“I don’t have my husband’s password.”
“Okay, well, the amount due is (amount) and you can pay online if you don’t want to mail it.”
“I just told you I don’t have the password.”
This excerpted conversation between a credit card company representative and me is, thankfully, the only discussion about a bill that was necessary after my husband’s passing.
I was glad that just one of his bills was paid online. The rest were still sent by postal mail, and my frustrating discussion with the credit card rep forced me take a close look at my own bills and how statements arrive.
Companies are quite pushy to have you skip the mailed bill in favor of online-only billing, but who does that benefit?
How much rebate or discount to your bill do you receive each month for allowing a creditor to save money by not mailing your bill?
Last I checked, they don’t offer dollars, dimes, a nickel, or penny.
When a family member who opted for online billing passes away and leaves no trace of how to retrieve an account online, you are left on a hunting expedition to find what’s needed to finalize payments. To make matters worse, credit representatives speak to you by phone in a robotic manner that increases your stress.
So, who does online billing benefit? I’m not saying that this method has no merit. I’m suggesting that if you forego mailed bills, it’s important to document account names, usernames, and passwords in one central place near or around the computer for easy retrieval by anyone in charge of your finances if you cannot take care of your business.
All of my personal bills are sent by mail – every one of them. Some of my business bills are only available online, and because of that, I document usernames and passwords for each company in a desktop software program that I print every six months, placing the printed copy into a binder. It’s printed in case the software program fails, leaving me with a gaggle of information to rebuild from scratch.
If I didn’t have the software, I’d use a hard cover address book which is suited for writing all details about the mortgage, electric bill, annual insurance payments, credit card account numbers, and other information. Perhaps that’s a good method for you.
I don’t want my family to wonder:
- What company manages the life insurance?
- Where do we find information to contact creditors?
- How do we access website and social media accounts?
This is the time to write down everything your family must know to make things easier for them. It’s not difficult and doesn’t have to be done in one day. Rather, it’s best to write down what you recall first and continue the process as you remember details over time.
Accept online billing if it is what you want, not what makes profits higher for big corporations.
How do you plan to document details about bills and your online activity?