Can your company use the Internet to pay your bills? In general, the answer is yes, given how systems of intelligent billing spread around. The actual world we live in, though, keeps much on paper, and you still receive pounds of bills printed and delivered in envelopes to your mailbox. So, is it possible to skip all that paper stuff and do your paying online?
In the Perfect World
Would it be great to have a special button on any of the bills your company receives? It would take just a push to have it paid in an instant. In the perfect world, in addition, there would have been no risk your payment is going to any Internet criminals. Well, let’s see how this perfection can be fulfilled in our life.
In the Real World
There is no button “Pay All” on a paper bill. But instead, there is the freedom to choose your preferred method, especially if your company receives a lot of bills. When you decide to pay your bills online, there are several ways to do it:
Service Provider Sites
The first option (though taking more time) is paying bills on pages of utility or service providers. Usually, their websites have special pages with payment gateways for their users. You have to enter your credentials to authorize on this page and use whatever credit card you prefer to pay this particular bill. It makes sense for your company to have one account for paying bills, to ease calculations.
Some paper bills you receive (or maybe all of them) have QR codes printed on them. By scanning this code with the camera of your phone, you receive a link to the payment page. The requisites of the payee are already there. You need to log in with your bank account to make the payment.
Bank Sites and Apps
Another way to pay your bills is through your bank. For example, let’s review utility bills. They usually concern the property your company owns or rents, using its street address. Some banks fetch the data directly from utility providers, so they roll out bills monthly right in their official apps. Amounts to pay are either fixed or depend on your meters.
Many banks (like Bank of America) let you manually choose the company or person to pay from a large list that includes most, if not all, utility providers. It’s a great way if you use a single bank account to pay all or most of your bills for multiple properties. Some banks even provide you a choice between electronic payments and sending paper checks. And, needless to say, most banks offer this service to their clients for free.
Finally, some services let you pay online with credit cards of any bank, as well as Internet payment services (like PayPal or Skrill). These gateways require that you log in (create a separate account, use your Facebook one or a bank account), then authorize with credentials of the service you want to pay with, and then make your payment.
In the real world, it’s all intertwined. For example, when you visit the page of your utility provider, you can enjoy different payment options, including various banks and multiple payment gateways. The good bonus of having an account on one of them is that it logs your transaction, making it easy to calculate the total for a certain period of time (for example, when filling your tax return)
In the Underworld
How can you be sure you’re actually paying your gas or water provider, not some impostors? Well, this risk does exist, especially if your company has undertrained employees. So here are the instructions on how to avoid phishing and other traps.
- Make your payments from a mobile app issued by your bank, if there is one for businesses. You can always contact its security and ask a question if you notice something suspicious.
- Bookmark the actual page of your bank or payment gateway and access it through this bookmark.
- Update your OS and your browser as soon as possible to have its bugs fixed in time.
- Generate a strong password for each of your accounts and get your responsible employee to memorize it (or do it yourself). Don’t have it written anywhere, either on paper or in a file. It’s the basic rule of corporate security.
Just Push the Button?
Can it all be so simple? If you’re speaking the Internet language, it actually is. Professionals worked a lot on making Internet payments secure and easy, just to guarantee people use it, and payees receive these payments right. So, it’s a great way to save your time and money as well, given that sometimes paying in time means a discount next month.
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