Financial Tips

Autopay vs. Bill Pay: A guide to ease your decision fatigue

Remember that thing we all learned in school that a square is a rectangle but a rectangle isn’t a square? Well, you can think of autopay and bill pay in a similar way: autopay is bill pay but bill pay is not autopay.

Let us explain–autopay allows you to pay your bills every month through recurring transfers from your checking account, automating the bill payment. Bill pay is the online payment service offered by Fremont Bank and other financial institutions to help you pay your bills, whether you pay them automatically via autopay or manually. Now we’re going to elaborate on these differences and give some examples of when and how to use each. Read on, and never miss a payment again.

What are the main differences between autopay and bill pay?



deducts the bill amount from your checking account on the due date.

Allows you to manually schedule a payment to be sent to the biller on a specific date.

Typically free

May have a fee*

Not reversible
once the payment has gone through

Can be canceled before and sometimes after the payment is sent

*Fremont Bank does not charge for bill pay, but other banks may.

Now let’s dive into the pros and cons of each to help you further understand which could be right for your billing needs.

Pros and cons of Autopay



Peace of mind: You can be sure that your bills will always be paid on time, even if you forget.
Risk of overdrawing your account
: If you don't have enough money in your account when the autopay payment is deducted, you could overdraft your account.

Possible discounts
: Some billers offer discounts for customers who use autopay.

Difficulty canceling: Once you set up a payment with autopay, it can be difficult to cancel it.

Pros and cons of Bill Pay



: You can schedule payments for any date, and you can cancel a payment before it's sent.

Manual: You have to remember to schedule payments, and you may have to pay a fee**.

: You have more control over your bills, when they’re paid, and to whom.

Risk of late fees: If you forget to schedule a payment, you could be charged a late fee.

**Fremont Bank does not charge for bill pay, but other banks may.

Here are a few scenarios to help you choose which to use:

Recurring monthly payments that are always the same amount paid to the same person or business like your rent or mortgage → Autopay

Credit card bills when you want to just pay the minimum amount or you know you’ll always have the funds in your account → Autopay

Monthly bills that change over time but have the same business payee like your electric bill → Bill pay

Infrequent payments that might occur only a few times a year like lawn care → Bill pay

No matter which you choose, autopay and bill pay are in place to make your life easier–whether you’re letting your payments go automatically on a monthly basis with autopay or simply saving a frequent payee in bill pay. The best way to see which will fit your needs is to give each a try. You can dip your toe in by doing one at a time for a few months to see how you like it. And if you don’t, there’s no reason you can’t pay your bills the old fashioned way with checks or with another one time payment tool like Zelle(R). There’s no one size fits all, so do what works for you.

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