There are two main ways to pay bills electronically in our fast-paced, electronic world: auto pay and bill pay. Both of these methods are easy and convenient, but there are a few subtle differences between auto pay vs bill pay that you should be aware of before deciding which one is right for you.
But what exactly is auto pay and bill pay? How exactly do they work, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of each? Let’s take a closer look.
In this article, we will take a look at both auto pay and bill pay and discuss which is the better choice for you. But, first, let’s define both separately to get a full grasp of what they entail.
What is Auto Pay?
Auto pay is a method of paying bills in which you authorize a company to charge your credit or debit card automatically on a recurring basis. This means that you will never have to worry about missing a payment or being late on a bill again. Auto Pay is usually done by calling the vendor or accessing their website, providing them with your bank info, and scheduling your payment (usually every month).
What is Bill Pay?
On the other hand, bill pay is when you pay bills via your bank account. In bill pay, you initiate the payment, not the vendor. You will need to log into your bank’s website, and under the “Bill Pay” tab, you will enter the vendor’s information. Payment will then be sent electronically from your bank to the vendor.
What’s the Difference?
The main difference between auto pay vs bill pay is that, with bill pay, you are the one initiating the payment, while with auto pay, the vendor initiates the charge to your credit or debit card.
Another difference is that, with auto pay, you are authorizing the vendor to charge your card on a recurring basis. With bill pay, you are only authorizing the payment for that one-time transaction.
Why is Bill Pay Recommended at First?
When it comes to deciding between auto pay vs bill pay, it is recommended that you start with the latter. The reason for this is because, with bill pay, you are in control of when the payment is sent. This means that if there is ever an issue with your bank account or you need to dispute a charge, you can do so without worrying about the vendor charging your card.
Since it’s a simple process, bill pay also gives you a greater awareness than auto pay. With bill pay, you get access to the following perks:
- Set up a payment as recurring or one-time.
- Select your preferred payment date.
- Start and stop recurring payments easily.
- Log in to a single website (your bank) and pay multiple vendors at once.
- Vendors don’t have access to your bank account.
- Since you’re more engaged with your bills, you are also more aware of how your bill fluctuates.
- You’re more likely to notice increases in your usage.
- You’re able to spot vendor errors.
When Does Auto Pay Make Sense?
Bill pay is the ideal option when you’re just getting into the habit of budgeting and managing your funds. However, auto pay will make more sense once you get the hang of things.
Auto pay can be a complete time-saver, but it’s only recommended when you’re confident in your budgeting skills and have a good financial handle. You’re authorizing the vendor to charge your card automatically on a set schedule with auto pay. This means that you need to make sure you have enough money to cover the charges, or you’ll be hit with overdraft fees.
While auto pay might not be the best option for everyone, it can be helpful for those who are:
- Consistently meeting their monthly financial obligations.
- No longer want the hassle of manually paying bills each month.
- Tired of forgetting to make payments on time.
- Running a business of your own and need to make multiple payments each month.
- On a tight budget and can’t afford to miss a payment.
- Auto pay can also help you avoid late fees by ensuring that your payments are always on time.
Why Recurring Billing is the Best for Business
If you’re running a business, recurring billing is the best way to offer payment to your customers. Recurring billing is a type of auto pay in which customers are automatically charged on a set schedule. This can be weekly, monthly, or even yearly.
Recurring billing is beneficial for businesses because it:
- Offers a predictable cash flow.
- Makes budgeting easier.
- Better customer retention rates
- Allows you to offer discounts for customers who commit to a long-term contract.
- Builds customer loyalty.
Businesses can offer their customers a discount for committing to a long-term contract with recurring billing. This not only builds customer loyalty but also helps to retain customers.
If you want your business to switch to recurring billing, ReliaBills can help you with that transition. ReliaBills is an invoicing and payment processing system that offers recurring billing features.
ReliaBills is a two-in-one solution that solves your invoicing and payment processing needs. With ReliaBills, you can create a recurring billing system that is customized to your business.
You can set the frequency of payments, offer discounts, and send automatic reminders to customers. AutoPay is also available, which lets you bill and collect payments from your customers without having to lift a finger.
Get started today! Create your free account and take advantage of basic recurring billing! If you want to access all of our recurring billing features, you’ll need to upgrade to ReliaBills PLUS ($24.95/mo).
Both auto pay and bill pay have their own set of pros and cons. When deciding which one is best for you, it’s important to consider your own budgeting skills and financial habits. If you’re just getting started with budgeting, bill pay is probably the better option. However, if you’re confident in your abilities and want to save some time, auto pay might be the way to go. Either way, it’s important to stay on top of your finances and make sure you’re always aware of what’s going on with your money.