Manually paying bills can be a drag, which might prompt you to try autopay. But which bills should you choose to automatically deduct payments from your bank account?
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“Autopay offers both advantages and disadvantages when it comes to managing your expenses,” said Andrew Latham, certified financial planner and director of content for Supermoney. “Pros include timely payments, convenience, easier budgeting and potential interest savings. However, cons, such as insufficient funds, reduced flexibility, limited control and potential errors should also be considered.”
Latham said the key is to evaluate the pros and cons based on your unique financial situation and personal preferences before deciding which bills to put on autopay. Here’s what you need to know.
Mortgage or Rent
“Mortgage and rent are fixed, recurring monthly expenses that are essential to maintain a stable living situation,” said Latham. “Autopay ensures timely payments and helps avoid late fees or penalties.”
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A drawback to putting your mortgage or rent on autopay would be if the due date falls before your next pay check when you’re running low on funds. Having a large payment presented to your bank account when there’s not enough money to cover it could result in the payment being rejected by your bank or the bank assessing an overdraft fee.
“Utility bills, such as electricity, water and gas are recurring monthly expenses,” Latham said. “While the amounts may vary, autopay can help ensure you don’t miss payments and face service interruptions.”
Kendall Meade, CFP at SoFi, said if you put fluctuating bills, such as water and electricity, on autopay, you might not have the chance to verify the bill is correct before paying, which could result in an overpayment.
“Car and health insurance payments are typically fixed, recurring expenses necessary for maintaining coverage,” Latham said. “Autopay guarantees that your policies remain active by preventing missed payments.”
Meade pointed out that she receives a discount for putting her car insurance on autopay, which is an added bonus.
Latham said that subscription-based services, like Netflix or Spotify, usually have fixed monthly fees and using autopay can simplify the payment process and ensure uninterrupted access.
“However, setting and forgetting the payment of these services can be dangerous to your budget as the cost of these services adds up quickly,” cautioned Latham. “I recommend putting one basic streaming service you always use on autopay and paying for any additional platforms manually to avoid paying for services you don’t use.”
Latham said that credit card balances can vary significantly from month to month and putting them on autopay might not be the right move depending on your finances. “Autopay could lead to overdraft fees if you don’t have sufficient funds in your account to cover the full balance,” he said.
“Annual subscriptions occur infrequently, and it can be easy to forget when they are due,” Latham said. “Autopay may lead to unintended renewals if you no longer need the service.”
This is also true for monthly subscription boxes or personal styling services.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How To Decide Which Bills To Put on Autopay