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Managing Automatic Bill Payments

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Tips on keeping track of your finances online

Online banking features like automatic bill pay have made paying your bills quick and simple, but when you're paying multiple bills, it's important to maintain a system to help keep your finances both organized and up to date.

Bruce McClary, a certified financial specialist, warns, "You still have the obligation to make sure that everything is accurate, because nobody is checking for you." If you fall behind on any of your accounts, your credit can be damaged.

As more and more people make the switch to automatic online bill pay, it's crucial that they be diligent about monitoring their transactions and also aware of changing minimum payments and due dates. Make the following tips part of your regular monthly financial routine so you can better manage your finances:

While automatic bill pay can be a time-saving luxury, Erin Peterson of Yahoo! Finance lists some bills that should still be handled the old-fashioned way, such as:

Mobile phone bills: Especially for people with children who share a bill, the monthly statement may change from month to month. You want to be sure that you pay the correct amount.

Insurance bills: If you set these up for auto pay, you may forget to check into quotes from other companies every year or so.

Utility bills: When paying these bills yourself, you can keep tabs on your household energy costs and discover any areas you need to work on.

Finances are different for each individual, so it's important to stop and think about what's best for you. As Peterson says, "It's best to take each bill on a case-by-case basis and consider whether you will actually look the bill over every month if it's paid automatically."

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