Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I'm Just a Bill, Yes I'm only a Bill, and I'm sitting here unpaid

I got another "Final Shut Off Notice for non-payment" from the power company last week. It was sent to me about a month ago; I opened it 2 days after the shut-off deadline. Fortunately I was able to pay the bill before they dispatched the guy with the wire cutters. Several well-intentioned people told me I should use Online Bill Pay, and then I wouldn't have these problems. Actually, I DO pay my bills electronically. The problem is the Online systems are still not idiot-proof enough for me.

There are two ways I can pay my bills electronically. First, I can go to the website for each credit card or power company, log-in, and make a payment. I've already signed up with all of them so they have my bank account number for payments. The problem is that you have to go to a different website for every bill.

The second method is to make payments through my bank. I can log into Wells Fargo, see the list of all the standard bills I have, and make payments one at a time. The problem with that system is the bank has no idea what my outstanding balances or minimum payments are. So I still need to log onto the other sites to check current balances.

Automatic payments won't work, because I'm only going to wind up withdrawing cash and then forget that the bank needs that money to make a pre-scheduled payment.

Here is the service I want, so if anyone knows of such a thing please let me know: I want to log into a single website. It will give me one page listing all of my current bills for the month. It will access all of my credit card accounts real-time and give me my CURRENT balances, minimum payments, and due dates. I should be able to click on any of the bills and make a payment.

This is what the page should look like:

All of my bills listed, with current outstanding balances, and buttons to pay in full, minimum payment, or other amount.

Do not underestimate how disorganized I am. This is the level of hand-holding I need.

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