Keep a list of bill payment methods

Pocket ledger

So just like with expenses, there are a number of methods which can be used to pay bills. And there are pros and cons to each method.

One of the issues that comes up with bill paying is that you will need to periodically update your payment information. This most often occurs when you get a new card number or your card’s expiration date changes. It can also show up if you change your account number (for example, if you change banks), which is less common but does happen.

These days, with data breaches happening more or less all the time, the most common occurrence is that you will be forced to change your card number.

When any of this happens, and since you have your bills automated (I hope), you are going to need to update every one of your bill payments.

This is no fun. But you can make it easy on yourself if you make a list of all of your bill payment sources.

Bill pay source ledger

A bill pay source ledger is a list of what bills you have and what method is used to pay them.

This can take the form of a simple spreadsheet, or even just a text file or note card. It need not be complex.

Here is an example of a bill pay source ledger. (Your bills may look very different.)

[table caption=”Bill pay source ledger” width=”400″ colwidth=”100|100″ border=1 style=”background-color:#ffffff”]
Bill, Payment method
Rent, Online bill pay
Gym, Debit card
Car insurance, ACH
VoIP, PayPal
Electric, ACH
Gas, ACH
Internet, Debit card
Phone, ACH
Retirement, ACH
Savings, ACH

(Note that in the above I counted retirement and savings as a bill. I’d suggest this.)

So in the case of needing to change your debit card, you’d know exactly which accounts you would need to update and which you wouldn’t. Same thing with if you switched checking account numbers.

Without this list, you would need to:

a) log into everything to see how it’s being paid,
b) check multiple months of statements (since some bills are yearly or semi-yearly), or
c) wait for bills to not get paid.

None of these options are particularly great.

But once you make a this list, your life is made a lot simpler.

Now as for the fallout from the next retail card breach, well, that’s a different story.

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