Due to the popularity of online banking, paying your bills by writing a check may possibly become a thing of the past. Instead of sorting through bills delivered by your post man, then balancing a checkbook, and writing and mailing checks, consumers can track debits in real-time, automatically budget upcoming expenses and transfer money to pay bills without the use of paper.
Unfortunately, if you’ve part of the massive amount of people already using online bill pay, there’s a cause for alarm. With all this ease comes a very real risk of privacy infractions and identity theft. Some people have big suspicions that spyware might be installed to record your every keystroke or if fake web pages might be used to capture their client information. However, there is indication that paying bills online could actually reduce the risks of identity theft and related fraud.
Fears about fraud and theft are a reality for a lot of people. A couple safety measures can make paying bills online a handy and controlled way to keep individual finances on track.
1. Using a credit card, instead of a debit card, gives extra protection when paying bills online. Fraudulent credit card usage can be disputed with the card issuer and payment can be stopped until the issue is resolved. The problem is that credit cards aren’t linked to your bank account. Therefore, a credit card can result in unpaid balances and interest charges unless you pay the balance each month.
2. You need to make sure the web site is secure. Secure web addresses should always start with “https,” which signifies a secure link. Also look for a little padlock icon in the top or bottom right corner of the browser window.
Paying bills online is more than just a modernized translation of the long-established method. It also offers many record-keeping benefits such as online reports and search transaction histories. Millions of people use some sort of online banking service. You don’t need be afraid to use your bank’s bill pay service, just make sure to be smart about it.