Managing your finances can feel overwhelming. You don’t want to make money mistakes when paying your monthly bills. Even so, the occasional late payment happens. This can result in damage to your credit score, late fees, and other consequences.
Thanks to an easy solution, you can stop overpaying on these bills by avoiding late fees and other penalties from late payments. Automated scheduled payments can take some of the mental load of bill payment off your plate. See which bills you might want to put on autopay and which you may want to manually pay every month.
Credit card minimum payments
Whether you have one or multiple credit card bills each month, you never want to miss a payment. A missed credit card payment can damage your credit score. Your credit card may charge a late fee, and some credit cards even enact a higher penalty APR if you miss a payment. Even worse, some cards state that the penalty APR will last indefinitely.
However, you don’t want to autopay the full amount each month. Simply setting up an automatic payment for the minimum payment due will satisfy your obligations to the credit card company. While you should also make a payment to pay the balance off in full to avoid interest, this shouldn’t be automatically set up. Always verify charges on your credit card bills as soon as you receive them. If you automatically pay the entire balance, you may miss fraudulent charges until it’s too late to get them resolved.
Car loan payments
Individuals and families rely on their vehicles to get where they need to go in a timely manner. If you had to take out a car loan to purchase your vehicle, you likely want to put this bill on autopay. You can avoid your car getting repossessed by making sure you don’t miss payments.
Your car payment shouldn’t change from month to month for most loans. This predictability and a car loan’s set end date make this an easy candidate for autopay.
Personal loan payments
A personal loan has a set repayment period, and if it’s a fixed-rate loan, a fixed payment amount. Doing so can help you avoid late fees and credit score dings if you miss a payment.
Some personal loan lenders may reward you for setting up automatic payments to pay off your debt. You may receive a slightly lower interest rate for doing so. This can help you save money on your interest payments giving your budget a bit of a break, too.
Student loan payments
Student loan payments are a fact of life for many previous college students and even people in their 30s. You can take some of the financial sting out of this part of your life by setting up automatic payments. Doing so also helps you avoid the adverse credit and financial consequences of a late payment.
Like with personal loans, some student loans reward individuals who set up automatic payments with slightly lower interest rates. Make sure you still monitor your student loan statements to ensure payments are being made as you planned. This is especially important if you’re seeking forgiveness of your student loan debt.
Unless you own your home outright, a mortgage payment is likely one of your largest monthly bills. In fact, homeowners often have mortgage payments into their 40s and beyond. You can automate this part of your life by setting up automatic mortgage payments. These payments are typically fairly predictable, but annual escrow analysis may change your payment amount from year to year.
Making automatic payments helps you avoid what could be one of your costliest late fees each month. Paying your mortgage on time also prevents foreclosure, which may leave you homeless. It can help you build healthy credit habits at the same time.
Rent payments generally don’t usually show up on your credit report. Even so, missing a rent payment can have costly consequences. You likely have to pay a late fee, which can be significant. Even if you don’t have a late fee, your landlord may reconsider whether they want to continue renting to you after your lease is up.
This bill is set in stone as your lease specifies, making it easy to predict. Setting up automatic rent payments can make your life a bit easier without much downside.
Unlimited cell phone plans
Cell phones are virtually a necessity in today’s world. People use them to make calls, text friends, play games, and even complete important work transactions. Without a cell phone, you could miss an essential email or text that significantly impacts your life.
For these reasons, most people want to make sure their cell phones work uninterrupted. A late cell phone bill payment could result in your service getting shut off. Unlimited cell phone plans shouldn’t vary in price from month to month unless you’re getting add-ons billed through your phone bill. These reasons make an unlimited cell phone plan an easy decision for an automatic payment arrangement.
Health insurance premiums not paid through an employer
If you don’t have health insurance coverage through work, you probably pay the bill yourself. Without health insurance coverage, you could easily expose yourself to thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills due to an unfortunate accident. To ensure your coverage doesn’t lapse, setting up automatic payments may be a smart idea worth considering.
Life insurance premiums
Life insurance is an essential contingency plan to help your family or other dependents survive financially should you or another insured individual pass away prematurely. Life insurance only remains in effect when you pay your premiums. You may want to set up automatic payments to avoid a potential lapse in your policy.
Bills to never put on autopay
Some bills are better to pay manually every month for various reasons. Here are a few you may not want to put on autopay.
- Short-term bills: Any short-term bills that won’t reoccur over the long term should be manually paid. This way, you can ensure you don’t automatically get billed after you’re done using the product or service.
- Cable bill: These bills are notorious for their contractual obligations and changing prices. Carefully check each bill for price increases and expiring promotions to minimize your costs.
- Limited cell phone plans: If your cell phone plan isn’t unlimited, overages can add up to a high cost. Carefully review these bills to spot any inconsistencies.
- Streaming services: With more streaming services today than in years past, it’s essential to evaluate which ones you’re using. Manually paying these bills helps you choose which are worth keeping and which should be cut.
Putting a bill on autopay doesn’t mean you can set it and forget it forever. Always read through all of your bills to look for important information listed on them, such as upcoming changes. Carefully verify the amounts charged and any transactions on the accounts to ensure they’re accurate and prices haven’t changed.