What to Know When Paying Bills in the Digital Age

Paperless billing is the new way of doing things but consider these tips from NBC 7 Responds when switching to online bill pay.

Often, paperless billing is convenient and worry-free. But as some NBC 7 Responds viewers learned, it is still important to pay close attention when paying your bills online and to check your bank accounts regularly for inaccurate transactions. 

Atena Mohammadi and Elizabeth Kozel contacted NBC 7 Responds after they said a simple tap on their phone or click of the mouse led to mistaken payments. 

Both mistakes happened in less than a minute but took months, and for Atena’s case over a year, to correct the problem. 

When paying your bills online or on your mobile device, experts suggest avoiding doing so before bed or when you are not fully awake as it is less likely to lead to mistakes or errors made. 

Experts recommend those who prefer paying their bills online to only do so at home, rather than public location where scammers could access your personal information. 

After contacting NBC 7 Responds, both Atena and Elizabeth received full refunds for their mistaken payments. 

Here are some more tips when paying your bills online: 

  • It’s convenient but try not to save your Username or Password for accounts or websites that you use your credit or debit card on, always enter your username and password manually. This enables an extra level of security when using your credit or debit card. 

  • Antivirus or malware software should be installed on any computer or device you use to pay bills online with. 

  • Once you're done paying bills online, log out of the account you’re using to prevent someone from accessing your card information. 

  • Do not use the same username and password for every account you pay your bills with online 

Paperless billing means not only less junk mail, it also is environmentally-friendly. But as NBC 7 Responds learned, that doesn’t mean you can disregard regularly checking your accounts or contracts. 

Greg Sacco learned this when he found out Verizon had charged him over $3,000 for data-use the company said Greg’s phone used in the course of a single night. 

Greg said if it wasn’t for him calling Verizon and requesting a copy of his monthly statement, he would not have discovered the phone company showed his iPhone using more than 340gb of data while he was sleeping one night. 

After contacting NBC 7 Responds and our investigation, including an Apple analysis determining the phone had a program malfunction that was the source of the data-use, Verizon removed the charges from Greg’s account. 

If you want to continue going paperless with your bills but are afraid of facing more problems, remember these tips: 

  • Have your statements or bills emailed to your account and make sure to add the email address of where those statements are coming from to your “safe list” to prevent them going to your junk mail 

  • See if the account provider offers payment reminders to be sent via email or by text message (some text messages could cost you, double check your plan allows this) 

  • If you use auto-pay or allow a company to automatically deduct the money you owe from your account, set a reminder to double check the amount is what you’re expecting to pay 

  • Check to see if the company behind your account offers incentives for going paperless, often times it could lead to some form of a discount 
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