securely pay for... everything?

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FTC1ftc2
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securely pay for... everything?

Post by FTC1ftc2 »

How do you guys pay for everything - I mean, check, credit card, paypal, etc - I mean electric bills, phone bills, insurance policies, medical bills, charitable contributions... everything that I grew up sending out a check in the mail to cover.

we recently had two checks stolen from out mail box and attempts made to extract around 10k from us this way.

we could take mail with checks to the post office; we're also looking into a locked mailbox now for incoming mail.

in short, what is the most secure way to pay for everything else?

(we even pay for gas with cash, after getting our credit card skimmed years ago)
jebmke
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by jebmke »

We do as much as possible on credit card. Direct debit for some things. Bill pay last resort. Even my lawn guys have gone electronic after I explained the concept of aged receivables to them.

I am gradually getting our charities lined up to take EFT from our DAFs. In the last couple of years, checks issued by DAFs have gone missing.

Checks are a primitive way to transfer money. Some day the US will join much of the developed world and get to the late 20th century technology.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
bombcar
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by bombcar »

If you use your bank's bill pay - then it is your BANK's account numbers on the check, not yours (you can bill pay yourself to check this).

I use credit cards for all bills that don't charge additional fees, and bank pulls for those that do (or bill pay).
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Feldman
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by Feldman »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:12 am We do as much as possible on credit card. Direct debit for some things. Bill pay last resort. Even my lawn guys have gone electronic after I explained the concept of aged receivables to them.

I am gradually getting our charities lined up to take EFT from our DAFs. In the last couple of years, checks issued by DAFs have gone missing.

Checks are a primitive way to transfer money. Some day the US will join much of the developed world and get to the late 20th century technology.
Good win on your lawn guys! I also have had some problems with checks from DAFs going missing. What has been your role and approach as a donor in coaching / convincing / assisting charities with accepting EFT from DAFs? Really looking for the mechanics here. What do you need to instruct them to do to enable? I've had one grant from Vanguard Charitable go through as electronic, and it was with a charity that (pleasantly) surprised me that they'd be set up for this already.
jebmke
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by jebmke »

bombcar wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:19 am If you use your bank's bill pay - then it is your BANK's account numbers on the check, not yours (you can bill pay yourself to check this).

I use credit cards for all bills that don't charge additional fees, and bank pulls for those that do (or bill pay).
Not mine. Bank codes are mine.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
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Watty
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by Watty »

We use our banks online bill paying website for almost all of the things we regularly pay.

Most of the rest are paid with a credit card to get the points.

Occasionally we will pay someone like a contractor with a paper check but that is normally handed directly to them when they do the work.

We do not use any of the payment apps like Zelle, or Venmo.
jebmke
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by jebmke »

Feldman wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:26 am
jebmke wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:12 am We do as much as possible on credit card. Direct debit for some things. Bill pay last resort. Even my lawn guys have gone electronic after I explained the concept of aged receivables to them.

I am gradually getting our charities lined up to take EFT from our DAFs. In the last couple of years, checks issued by DAFs have gone missing.

Checks are a primitive way to transfer money. Some day the US will join much of the developed world and get to the late 20th century technology.
Good win on your lawn guys! I also have had some problems with checks from DAFs going missing. What has been your role and approach as a donor in coaching / convincing / assisting charities with accepting EFT from DAFs? Really looking for the mechanics here. What do you need to instruct them to do to enable? I've had one grant from Vanguard Charitable go through as electronic, and it was with a charity that (pleasantly) surprised me that they'd be set up for this already.
I start encouraging them and providing info on how to contact the DAF. Eventually, I turn up the heat and hint that their donations from me might stop. I’ve only had to go the distance with one.

My next target is our HVAC service company. They recognize the problem. One of the issues is that there is no mail delivery in their town so mail sometimes sits at the post office.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Parkinglotracer
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by Parkinglotracer »

Mail is my biggest security risk being a snow bird. I have stopped all mail from any agency I can. In Florida when we put in a mail forwarding request our post office put a card in our mail box - house is vacant and we never saw any forwarded mail. We use credit cards on auto pay for most things. - a few direct debits from checking. I watch the bills - no problems. ATT bill is the one that is wrong the most but they correct it.
dcabler
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by dcabler »

FTC1ftc2 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:05 am How do you guys pay for everything - I mean, check, credit card, paypal, etc - I mean electric bills, phone bills, insurance policies, medical bills, charitable contributions... everything that I grew up sending out a check in the mail to cover.

we recently had two checks stolen from out mail box and attempts made to extract around 10k from us this way.

we could take mail with checks to the post office; we're also looking into a locked mailbox now for incoming mail.

in short, what is the most secure way to pay for everything else?

(we even pay for gas with cash, after getting our credit card skimmed years ago)
Got skimmed years ago and I now only go to gas stations that have tap-n-pay.

Checks are an absolutely last resort. And in that extremely rare event where I have to write one and mail it, I drop it off at the post office by handing it to the attendant. Most of the time, though, for those cases I can use Bill Pay through my credit union instead of writing a check.

Most regular bills are paid either by a direct pull from the institution or a push using Bill Pay from my credit union. I use the credit card wherever I can for points. Occasional Venmo/Zelle. For Venmo, once the payment is complete, I remove my bank account info. Zelle is integrated with my credit union. Very, very occasionally, I use paypal. Same as Venmo - I attach a credit card to my account to make a payment, then remove it from my account after the payment is done.

There is almost no need to ever write a check these days..

Cheers.
Last edited by dcabler on Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ResearchMed
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by ResearchMed »

We also use charge cards for almost anything we possibly can.
(A separate bonus to that is that we use the awards/points for international air travel. As long as that is most useful for us, we'll do that rather than switch to a "cash-back card". But these perks do add somewhat to the basic convenience of using charge cards.)

Note that we *always* pay off the bill before any interest is charged. (Otherwise, this is not a good strategy.)

Not all "payees" accept charge cards, however.
For those that do not, we use our bank's Bill Pay.
That is, we go online, create an "account" for each payee (most are repeats, but not all), fill out the information about name, address, amount, account number if relevant, and then whether it's to be an electronic transfer or if the bank will have a physical check sent.
One real advantage of having a physical check sent this way instead of our writing out a paper check is that at least with our bank, the check sent out does *not* have any of our personal banking information printed. The check is "from the bank", sent on our behalf (as noted on the check), so any routing numbers would be to the banks system, not "us".

Some of the payments can be set up as recurring, if that's useful.

We haven't [yet!?] had a card skimmed at a gas station...
We also always have more than one active card, so IF something goes haywire with one card (lost, compromise...?), we can immediately use "the other card" while the problem is sorted out.

RM
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chinchin
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by chinchin »

FTC1ftc2 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:05 am electric bills, phone bills, insurance policies, medical bills, charitable contributions
Apple Pay for the first 3 and credit card for the other two
not financial advice
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Michael Patrick
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by Michael Patrick »

I almost never write checks anymore. If I can pay with a credit card (all my cards offer cash back), I'll do that unless there's a fee that exceeds the cash back. Gas, electric, sewer and water all charge an extra fee to use a credit card so I just do direct debit from checking.
oldfatguy
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by oldfatguy »

Credit cards for most things.
Web pay through the credit union for utilities.
Cash at the farmers market.
Write maybe 2-3 checks per year.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

What I do:
— don't use checks
— don't use bank bill pay
— don't use autopay
— don't pay by debit card
— avoid using cash
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
muffins14
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by muffins14 »

FTC1ftc2 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:05 am How do you guys pay for everything - I mean, check, credit card, paypal, etc - I mean electric bills, phone bills, insurance policies, medical bills, charitable contributions... everything that I grew up sending out a check in the mail to cover.

we recently had two checks stolen from out mail box and attempts made to extract around 10k from us this way.

we could take mail with checks to the post office; we're also looking into a locked mailbox now for incoming mail.

in short, what is the most secure way to pay for everything else?

(we even pay for gas with cash, after getting our credit card skimmed years ago)
Day to day: credit card
Mortgage and HOA: ACH autopay
Utilities: ACH autopay
Insurance: annual ACH
Contractor items for renovation: wire transfer

I do this from fidelity

I have used maybe 1 check in the last 3 years, the last being sent via online billpay for a rental deposit
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MnD
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by MnD »

95% Everything possible on reward credit cards with autopay on due date enabled if possible for regular monthly things.
3% Debit card with autopay.
2% Paper check handed to the person in person. (Her haircuts and house cleaners).

All credit cards are then set to autopay statement balance in full on the due date - which are set to all be on the same day of the month.
So we get a nice clean financial "closing" once per month and know a month in advance almost exactly what are expenses are for the following month.
Since virtually everything is on CC's with a 28 day float. Nothing is paid early and we earn a few thousand dollars per year on CC rewards.

Some people freak out about "pull" autopays but we've been doing it for decades and have never had an error or problem. I'm sure if I was pushing out payments I would have made many mistakes. And we travel a lot including remote places with limited or no connectivity so don't need the hassle.
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heartwood
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by heartwood »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:31 am
bombcar wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:19 am If you use your bank's bill pay - then it is your BANK's account numbers on the check, not yours (you can bill pay yourself to check this).

I use credit cards for all bills that don't charge additional fees, and bank pulls for those that do (or bill pay).
Not mine. Bank codes are mine.
Mine too. I just checked my Fidelity bill pay. The codes on bill pay checks are the same as those on the paper checks, with the Fido routing number and my account number.
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SmileyFace
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by SmileyFace »

Rarely use a paper check for anything. One of the most insecure payment methods.
- Put all bills on a 2% back credit card (I use fidelity) unless there is a fee to do so.
- if there is a fee - pay via a pull to the institution from my bank account (assures a paper check won't be mailed - when using billpay from your checking account they sometimes resort to sending a paper check - then you open yourself up to USPS delays and check fraud).
- for utilities where they have electronic billing and payment arrangement with my bank (and a charge for credit cards) - I push from my bank via automated billpay as I know those will be electronic.
- set up alerts on credit cards and bank to alert me to any large or unusual transactions.
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lthenderson
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by lthenderson »

FTC1ftc2 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:05 am (we even pay for gas with cash, after getting our credit card skimmed years ago)
I would argue a credit card is still much safer than cash despite the occasional skimming. With the credit card you have a record of every transaction, any loss is guaranteed by the credit card company and credit cards have built in consumer protections for fraud. With cash, you give up all those things and make yourself more susceptible to theft.

Like others, I pay with credit cards for anything that doesn't charge me extra for the privilege. The rest I pay with direct bank pulls. I still write the odd check now and then to people who are still back in the stone age. The only time I use cash these days is stuffing birthday and graduation cards.
exodusNH
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by exodusNH »

FTC1ftc2 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:05 am How do you guys pay for everything - I mean, check, credit card, paypal, etc - I mean electric bills, phone bills, insurance policies, medical bills, charitable contributions... everything that I grew up sending out a check in the mail to cover.

we recently had two checks stolen from out mail box and attempts made to extract around 10k from us this way.

we could take mail with checks to the post office; we're also looking into a locked mailbox now for incoming mail.

in short, what is the most secure way to pay for everything else?

(we even pay for gas with cash, after getting our credit card skimmed years ago)
In this order:

Pay with a credit card for those places that allow it without surcharge (insurance, electric, retail)

Allow direct debit of my checking account for those that can (gas, water, credit card bills, mortgage)

Manual ACH authorizations for those places that don't allow the above (property taxes and car registration)

My bank's bill pay as a final resort, which mails a check. (The check has my account number on it, not an omnibus account.)

Manual check as a final option. I've written one in the past two years.
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soccerrules
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by soccerrules »

Im late 50's so i grew up writing checks and mailing bills.

Now most everything is set-up for autopay on credit card (security, expense tracking and cash back). I have a few other bills paid automatically via debit for those that charge a fee for credit card or do not allow CC payments. Spouse makes some online purchases via Paypal (also CC)
We use Zelle and Venmo for other transactions as needed.

I only write checks for yearly property taxes and Christmas gifts to the adult kids. (I could use other forms for these but choose to for reasons of "float"(property taxes, i know its a fun game for me) and the enjoyment of seeing the kids open the envelope.

I do carry a blank check in my wallet (habit) for those rare events that I might need one.
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bombcar
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by bombcar »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:31 am Not mine. Bank codes are mine.
That's somewhat depressing, I should check my bill pay again and see if they've changed anything.

I use checks so infrequently I don't even have a checkbook for my "checking" account - if I need a paper check the bank is a short walk away and gives me a cashier's check for free. And those I know are drawn on the bank, not me.
ScubaHogg
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by ScubaHogg »

Credit card or bank bill pay is probably 95%+ of my transactions. Definitely so if weighted my amount
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Doctor Rhythm
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by Doctor Rhythm »

Credit cards pay for almost everything.

ACh/auto-pay for credit cards and the few things where credit card isn't accepted or requires a fee. Pull for recurring payments.

Check or cash - almost never; mainly to people who aren't comfortable with electronic payment methods.
EricGold
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by EricGold »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am What I do:
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
I went the other way: PUSH yes, avoid PULL if at all possible. I figured the less places that have my account information, the better
somber
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by somber »

Lately I find myself using cash a lot more than before. A few years ago I never used cash, but I guess the credit card companies got too greedy and businesses around me are fighting back by charging extra fees for credit card purchases. My credit card rewards have dropped dramatically, but I'd rather save the money upfront anyway, and I don't like local merchants getting gouged by Visa/MC. For bills I use online billpay - all but 1 of my regular payees accept this electronically. The one that goes by mail I can't change. I sure wish FedNow would roll out widely, as I think that might eliminate all need for me to write a check (but maybe I'm expecting too much of FedNow).
jebmke
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by jebmke »

EricGold wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:12 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am What I do:
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
I went the other way: PUSH yes, avoid PULL if at all possible. I figured the less places that have my account information, the better
The problem with that is you have to either have standing push orders (which can be done in some cases) or risk having bills go unpaid if you are incapacitated. I try to aggregate as many pulls on my credit card as possible and the card is on autopay.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
DetroitRick
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by DetroitRick »

My first choice is always credit card. Where cards aren't feasible or economical, then ACH from my checking account. Occasionally Zelle. On rare occasions when I have no other choice, paper checks from a secondary checking account (smaller balance, no overdraft). I will even use cash in those rare instances where it gives me a substantive advantage.

In the wild, when card skimming risk is an issue (gas stations), I use a tap-to-pay card or Google Pay. All my cards are tap-to-pay, except a single retail store card.

Our bills are typically paid by credit card, with 2/3 of all our bills on autopay. The rest are ACH (via bank bill pay or vendor website, no big push-pull preference for me). Credit card bills themselves are paid via ACH, not autopay, from card websites.

I don't routinely carry an ATM card, or use it for other than ATM cash.

More importantly, security-wise, I monitor everything (app notifications and Quicken). I have no concerns over permanent loss, just temporary issues.
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CAsage
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by CAsage »

Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash) are all auto-debit from checking (decades, no issues).
Subscriptions/e-utilities (Internet, cell phones, You-tube, Netflix, Amazon, Newspapers, home & car insurance) paid via credit card - never an issue
Dentist - mail a check (usually from bill pay online, or I take to mailbox, they are old school)
Charity - currently spending down my DAF, almost all are direct payments.
Shopping in store or online - 100% credit card.
Estimated taxes and property taxes - online ACH debit RTN/account hand entry.
No Zelle/Venmo yet...

I've never had an issue with an automated ACH debit "pull" or online credit card payment, from established businesses where I generally have a userid and password. So far, no skimmers at gas stations, but I look carefully and buy at major stations. I try to stay aware of fraud, but all my risks are from shopping at Target, my former employer keeping data on stolen laptops, etc. I monitor my financial accounts very regularly. No internet cafe use! I keep my CU reserve under $1k, so just enough to pay all current bills plus a little pad. Real money elsewhere, with no bill pay or interfaces to other businesses.
Last edited by CAsage on Tue Jun 11, 2024 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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EricGold
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by EricGold »

jebmke wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:23 am
EricGold wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:12 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am What I do:
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
I went the other way: PUSH yes, avoid PULL if at all possible. I figured the less places that have my account information, the better
The problem with that is you have to either have standing push orders (which can be done in some cases) or risk having bills go unpaid if you are incapacitated. I try to aggregate as many pulls on my credit card as possible and the card is on autopay.
Trade-off, to be sure. I prioritized fraud and ID theft risk mitigation
Regarding the issues you raise regarding unpaid bills:

My wife and I both pay bills, so both of us will have to be incapacitated to have a bill go unpaid
I have set up PUSH Billpay AUTO for my credit cards. It is only the minimum to avoid late payment penalties since for now the BillPay does not know the actual vendor bill amount.

I pay my credit cards down to a zero balance twice a month. This is mostly because debt irks me, but it also gives me close to 2 months to pay without interest, depending on when the charge occurred in the cycle. It also means that should a charge go unpaid in time, it will be a low balance. I use phone apps to view my balances and then use Billpay. At least for me, it has not been an annoyance. A couple of minutes, twice monthly for the credit cards, and in addition one manual vendor BillPay a month.
Last edited by EricGold on Tue Jun 11, 2024 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
jebmke
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by jebmke »

CAsage wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 10:04 am risks are from shopping at Target


Apple Pay is your friends. I never use a card there. But have reduced use of Target now that they have severely restricted self-checkout hours.
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MikeG62
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by MikeG62 »

FTC1ftc2 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:05 am How do you guys pay for everything - I mean, check, credit card, paypal, etc - I mean electric bills, phone bills, insurance policies, medical bills, charitable contributions... everything that I grew up sending out a check in the mail to cover.

we recently had two checks stolen from out mail box and attempts made to extract around 10k from us this way.

we could take mail with checks to the post office; we're also looking into a locked mailbox now for incoming mail.

in short, what is the most secure way to pay for everything else?

(we even pay for gas with cash, after getting our credit card skimmed years ago)
Pretty much anything that can be paid with a CC is paid for with a CC. Bank issuing CC pulls statement balance on due date from our checking account. I've tried to align CC payment dates to all be within a day or two of one another. Checking account typically has < $1,000 balance until a day or so before the CC payments are due (when I push the funds into the checking account).

A few things get paid by direct debit to our checking account (cell phone, HOA dues and auto lease payment).

I try not to write any checks if at all possible for the reason you indicated - if the check makes its way into the hands of a bad actor then our checking account is at risk. This is the reason I maintain as low a balance as I can in the checking account as possible.

This has worked so far in terms of keeping the bad guys away.

Also, all of our credit reports are frozen (including chex systems).
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

EricGold wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:12 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am What I do:
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
I went the other way: PUSH yes, avoid PULL if at all possible. I figured the less places that have my account information, the better
Whatever makes you comfortable. Push often involves paper checks through US Mail, and I consider that to be higher risk than pull. It also puts the bank in the middle.
hoops777
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by hoops777 »

So in other words almost everyone on this forum does pretty much the same thing.
CC’s with rewards as much as possible and some form of bill pay from checking for most everything else.
Paper checks only if necessary or to a worker you can hand it to.
A little cash here and there.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
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vnatale
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by vnatale »

First choice is always credit card.

Second choice is debit to my checking account.

This is for recurring monthly expenses.

Never had an issue doing this.

Greatly reduced stress level of getting credit card bills paid on time.
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Kruser64
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by Kruser64 »

EricGold wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:12 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am What I do:
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
I went the other way: PUSH yes, avoid PULL if at all possible. I figured the less places that have my account information, the better
Push is one of the things I like about Zelle. It's push only - not possible to pull.
placeholder
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Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by placeholder »

In order of preference:

1. Whatever possible on rewards credit card and I really don't worry about skimmers as it's more difficult with chip cards and have never had a compromise that way and it's credit card so not my problem

2, Next ach push for most other things

3. Extremely rarely checks at my auto mechanic and occasional freelance workers
fuddbogle
Posts: 213
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2019 8:35 am

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by fuddbogle »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 2:48 pm
EricGold wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:12 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am What I do:
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
I went the other way: PUSH yes, avoid PULL if at all possible. I figured the less places that have my account information, the better
Whatever makes you comfortable. Push often involves paper checks through US Mail, and I consider that to be higher risk than pull. It also puts the bank in the middle.
I push all bank payments and only 1 is a paper check. The local garbage company. Definitely not often with my accounts.
NYCaviator
Posts: 2299
Joined: Sat Apr 09, 2016 5:06 pm
Location: NYC

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by NYCaviator »

hoops777 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:29 pm
Paper checks only if necessary or to a worker you can hand it to.
I have been using cashiers checks for workers/services rather than a paper check. It's free and easy to get one from the bank, and it doesn't have my account number on it so it's safer in my opinion.

I'll add-on Venmo. Short of being phished or scammed out of money, it's pretty secure.
Gaston
Posts: 1322
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:12 pm

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by Gaston »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am What I do:
— don't use checks
— don't use bank bill pay
— don't use autopay
don't pay by debit card
— avoid using cash
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
I've read that if a debit card gets misused, it's very difficult to get a bank to refund your money. Not sure how true that is. But since we have no real need for debit cards, we have the "debit" feature turned off on our cards. The cards can only be used for ATM withdrawals, not for any kind of payment.
“My opinions are just that - opinions.”
hoofaman
Posts: 1046
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:39 pm

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by hoofaman »

FTC1ftc2 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:05 am How do you guys pay for everything - I mean, check, credit card, paypal, etc - I mean electric bills, phone bills, insurance policies, medical bills, charitable contributions... everything that I grew up sending out a check in the mail to cover.

we recently had two checks stolen from out mail box and attempts made to extract around 10k from us this way.

we could take mail with checks to the post office; we're also looking into a locked mailbox now for incoming mail.

in short, what is the most secure way to pay for everything else?

(we even pay for gas with cash, after getting our credit card skimmed years ago)
We pay for everything with a credit card, all expenses, including taxes (federal income, state income, local property taxes, etc). We don't use/need checks anymore. We also don't use debit cards or cash.

In addition to being the most secure form of payment, my credit cards give me between a 2.6-5% discount on everything I purchase when factoring in the reward, and they also give me ~30 days of free float period to earn interest on the money.
m@ver1ck
Posts: 611
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:18 pm

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by m@ver1ck »

Yes - even our landscapers use Venmo.

Not sure if this is worth doing - but I’ve created a ‘firewall’ for the bank that I use for various bills.

Most money etc. is in a brokerage account.

Brokerage account can send money to checking. Checking account does not have access to brokerage.

Checking gets salary.
All bills are paid through this account.
Even if this account gets hacked, very limited exposure since apart from payday less than 1K in it.

Key thing to secure is email. Use 2FA or even a physical device to secure your email - since often the email is what can be used to reset online bank accounts …
CycloRista
Posts: 212
Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:53 am

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by CycloRista »

No personal checks.

Primarily "push" electronic payments from my bank checking account for: credit cards, mortgage, insurance, phone, property taxes, utility bills, etc. The mortgage is setup to pay automatically... all others I review and manually issue payment on a monthly basis. Used to pay for auto and home insurance with a credit card. Sadly, the new tier-1 insurer charges a processing fee to do so.

I refuse to setup autopay "pull payments" from my bank with individual entities (credit card companies, mobile phone carrier, internet provider, etc.) as it is such a pain to stumble through each different site to setup, manage and/or discontinue them.

I use PayPal (friends & family) and Venmo for certain things like eBay purchases, one-off bills, gifts for kids, charitable contributions, etc.
UpperNwGuy
Posts: 9744
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Gaston wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 7:15 am I've read that if a debit card gets misused, it's very difficult to get a bank to refund your money. Not sure how true that is.
Yes, this is true. I had fraud on both my debit card and my credit card within the same year. Both cards were from the same financial institution. Getting my money refunded on the credit card was easy. Getting my money refunded on my debit card was a long, tedious process that included two visits to the police station, a visit to notary public, and a visit to the post office.
But since we have no real need for debit cards, we have the "debit" feature turned off on our cards. The cards can only be used for ATM withdrawals, not for any kind of payment.
Getting the debit function turned off is easier at some financial institutions than at others.
EricGold
Posts: 653
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2024 4:19 pm

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by EricGold »

fuddbogle wrote: Wed Jun 12, 2024 4:32 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 2:48 pm
EricGold wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 9:12 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 7:17 am What I do:
— pay everything possible with credit cards
— use "pull" instead of "push" for electronic payments
I went the other way: PUSH yes, avoid PULL if at all possible. I figured the less places that have my account information, the better
Whatever makes you comfortable. Push often involves paper checks through US Mail, and I consider that to be higher risk than pull. It also puts the bank in the middle.
I push all bank payments and only 1 is a paper check. The local garbage company. Definitely not often with my accounts.
Yep -- I think my HOA payment is a paper check
But I don't lose sleep over it because the check does not have my account information
PersonalFinanceJam
Posts: 749
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2021 8:32 am

Re: securely pay for... everything?

Post by PersonalFinanceJam »

FTC1ftc2 wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 6:05 am ...
(we even pay for gas with cash, after getting our credit card skimmed years ago)
This has been one area that infuriated me many years ago. Gas stations have been a target for skimming and slow to get chip readers/contactless for credit cards. In my area several major local skimming rings have been busted. It is changing but long ago I switched to predominantly using a station which had an app you used for pay at the pump. It integrated with ApplePay and I never worried about skimming again. You also get your rewards/discounts without needing to provide loyalty information separately.

In my area ExxonMobile/BP/Shell all have apps which integrate with the different payment systems (Apple/Google) so I don't even have a card on file. Even on long interstate road trips I can usually find one of these. Out of the way places may not have as many choices.

I'll echo what others have said about using a credit card for everything possible but for just that little tiny bit of extra security I use ApplePay/Paypal wherever possible. Ex: For my fast food vice of choice I use their app for pick up in the drive through with payment through ApplePay. It's gotten so on many outings I don't take a wallet with me unless I'm driving. Many of my medical providers (not all) bill me and take PayPal of all things.
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