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More Than One Way to Pay Bills

You probably know the old saying: The two sure things in life are death and taxes. But monthly bills are also a sure thing, no matter who you are, or what you do. We all have to deal with them each month: utility bills, credit card bills, rent or mortgage payments, insurance bills, and loan payments.

It used to be true that there were only two ways you could pay your bills:

  • Writing a check, and mailing it in.
  • Going to your creditor’s physical office and paying in person.

Today, though, there are many more ways you can handle your bill payments. You’ll be surprised at how many, and how different they are!

Pay by check or money order, and send it through the mail: This is the old standard, and works if you have a checking account with a bank or credit union. If you don’t have a bank account, you can send in a money order. The drawback to this method is that your account isn’t credited until your check arrives, via USPS, and your check clears. Not good if you are a last-minute type of person, or if you are waiting for a deposit to clear so your check won’t bounce.

Pay by check or money order, and drop off at collection stations: You can still pay by check or money order, but you don’t have to wait for USPS to deliver it–you also save the cost of a stamp. You can drop off your payment (sealed in its addressed envelope) at places like

  • Supermarkets: Safeway, Foodland, Sack ‘n Save, and more
  • Big-box stores like Wal-Mart
  • Banks
  • Shopping centers
  • City Halls
  • Military bases: Hickam AFB, Navy Exchange Kiosk, and more

For example, you can drop off your Honolulu Board of Water Supply payment not only at their office, but also at Satellite City Halls, Bank of Hawaii locations, and First Hawaiian Bank locations.

Visit a money services center like PayDayHawaii. Pay your bills via Western Union, or purchase money orders to mail in your payments–more information here. Our money order fee is extremely competitive at 59¢, and we have envelopes and stamps at the ready! Visit any location to take advantage of this service.  

Pay through Western Union: Just about any payment can be made through Western Union. At PayDayHawaii, many clients come in every month and pay cable, phone water and electric (some even do their mortgages and car payments) through Western Union. You can also go to Western Union’s website and make bill payments online; or you can make payments by phone.

Pay by check, money order, cash, credit or pre-paid debit cards at your utility’s office: Your utility may have additional locations (some of those listed above) where they can process cash and credit/debit card payments for your accounts.

Set up an Automatic Bill Payment account directly with your creditor. In this case, you make an agreement with your creditor to have your monthly payment taken automatically out of your bank account each month. You will need to make sure that there’s enough in your account to cover this, and that you know how much the withdrawal will be (you don’t want any surprises!).

Set up Online Bill Paying with your bank or credit union. If you have a bank account, this offers a number of options:

  • Set up your list of creditors, utilities, businesses, and individuals. Then select and manage your payments online, all in one place.
  • Have bills sent to your bank, and paid automatically on their due date (or before).
  • Manage your account and payments via the bank’s mobile app.
  • Payments are usually guaranteed by the bank to arrive no later than the due date. Be sure to check what your bank’s terms are for this. You will need to allow five business days for the payment to arrive.
  • Ask about any fees involved! If you don’t meet certain requirements, there may be a monthly or transaction fee involved.

For example: Here is an overview of Bank of Hawaii’s e-Bankoh Bill Pay service.

Pay online directly with your creditor or utility. You’ll log on, find your account, enter your payment information (bank account, credit or debit card), and make your one-time payment.

Pay by phone directly with your creditor or utility. You’ll call your creditor, enter your account information, then your payment information, and make your one-time payment.  This has the advantage of having your account credited within 24 hours or sooner. Good for procrastinators! Ask if there’s a fee involved in using this method, though.

Pay by Digital Channel: Interestingly, you can now pay your Oceanic Time Warner Cable bill through their digital channel 100–more information here. You’ll need to set it up initially, using your credit card. After than you should be able to just pay your monthly bill on channel 100.

Prepay your account: Some utilities will allow you to prepay your account. Put extra money into your utility account, and your next bill or bills will be drawn from that. Good if you are going to be away from home for more than a week. Check your utilities to see what their policies for prepayment are.

Thing to remember:

  • Whenever you do business with a company—such as a bank or utility–there may be fees involved. Always ask if there is a fee, and what it is. Believe it or not, some utilities may charge a fee for accepting a cash payment!
  • Know what the terms of your bank checking account are, and if there any fees for using a bill-pay service.
  • There may be a small fee for purchasing money orders. Money orders are available at a wide variety of locations, from the post office, to convenience stores, to supermarkets, to banks, and of course, at PayDayHawaii. Fill in the payee information and sign the money order immediately upon purchase.
  • There may also be a small fee for using Western Union services.
  • Be sure to get a receipt for all payments you make in person, especially cash payments.
  • If you are using your credit card to pay bills, make sure that you are not carrying those amounts over and accruing interest. That will make an already painful monthly payment that much more expensive.
  • If you are concerned about online security, you can use a pre-paid debit card to make payments. You’ll be limited on the amount of damage a hacker can do. Make sure you know if there are fees for purchasing and reloading your card.
  • If you are REALLY concerned about online security, or just don’t trust a bank, then paying by money order or Western Union will be best for your peace of mind.
  • Never mail cash to pay a bill!

Have questions about bill paying services? Stop at your local PayDayHawaii location and talk to one of our friendly representatives.

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