My car insurance now sends me an e-mail reminder two weeks before the bill is due. I simply pop onto the web site and pay by hand. I would love to automate this, but I don't know if it's possible. (State Farm is the carrier.)
In my ideal world, I would set up Wells Fargo to automatically push money from the business account to either my credit union or to a new ING Direct account once each month. This second account would then distribute the money automatically, without any interference on my part.
In the past, this sort of thing wouldn't have been feasible for me. I lived paycheck-to-paycheck. Now, though, I have a cushion, and this sort of automation really appeals to me. How many of you have done this? Does it work well? Any tips?
ING Direct's Electric Orange checking does free automatic billpay. They don't give you a check book, and actually they come right out and say that if you gat 3rd party checks drawn on the ING Direct checking account, they won't honor them.
I just set this up 2 months ago, and it's really working well for me.
* I pay my State Farm car insurance automatically each month on the 28th. Because State Farm is a large biller, ING Direct pays them electronically.
* Same with my Cox cable.
* Rent for my apartment and storage unit are sent out as paper checks (for free).
* With EO, you get a check card, so my Cingular account charges that, since it varies from month to month.
* My electric company pulls the payment out each month as an auto-draft. They required a cancelled check to start that service, and ING has a solution for that.
* My apartment is cleaned by a friend of mine, and she is paid with an ACH deposit directly into her checking account, initiated from my ING EO account.
I've been liberated by the freedom this provides. I travel a lot for my job. Because of my ADD and bad money management in the past, I was frequently late paying bills, and not being home for up to a week at a time didn't help things. This makes things SO much easier. I literally set everything up from a coffee shop in Hawaii (except for the electric company auto-draft, which had to be mailed). I had to change how much I sent to State Farm due to a change in premium ($16/mo extra in my account), but other than that, it has worked flawlessly.