HomeexpensesAutopay gives me the heebyjeebies

Autopay gives me the heebyjeebies

Nothing on this earth scares me more than initializing auto-payments from my checking account. Actually, I take that back. If I came home expecting to see Girl Ninja, but instead saw this guy, I’d probably be more freaked out…

…but not by much. I’ve never liked the idea of giving another company permission to access my checking account. In fact, it freaks me out so much that I willingly pay extra fees to manually send the payment each month. Sure it doesn’t make much financial sense to do that, but it sure does give me a peace of mind.

The only company I’ve ever established auto-debit authority to was Sallie Mae, only because it lowered my interest rate by a quarter percent. I flirted with the idea of granting my car insurance and cable provider access to my checking account, but decided it wasn’t worth it after reading horror story upon horror story of the auto-pay feature. For example, one person tried to cancel their auto-payments with their cable provider as they switched service, but three months later, money was still being taken from their account. Or how ’bout the person who agreed for $200 to be taken out each month, but was shocked when $2,000 was extracted. Or the numerous people who unknowingly became delinquent on their car payment because the auto-debit transaction freaked out and didn’t pull the money, but said person never realizes this as the payment is suppose to be automatic, and next thing they know they’re getting harassed by Toyota for being two months late on their car payment.

No sir. I’ll gladly pay a few extra bucks if it means I keep sole access to my bank accounts. Besides, I feel accomplished when I go through each month and manually schedule my payments. I also find comfort in knowing exactly how much will come out of my account. It basically reminds me I’m in control of my money.

Do you use the auto-pay feature on any of your bills? Have you had, or heard of, any auto-debit nightmares? Am I the only one that finds satisfaction in manually paying my bills?

p.s. Did anyone else notice the creepy dude’s inner thighs are tanner than the rest of his body? Does that means he tans with really long tube socks and a long sleeve shirt so that only his groin gets tan? Awkward!



  1. I do auto payments for recurring expenses that are a fixed amount every month (like cable + phone). I try to autopay via credit card, but I’m okay with online banking. All the cool kids are doing it.

    I do like to have visibility to our fluctuating expenses like electric and heat. This is to encourage conservation when the bill spikes.

    Mortgage I’m trying to pay off, so I like to look at that balance every mind to remind myself to send extra.

    At one point, (when my mom first moved) I had bills coming in from 3 properties. It was overwhelming and that’s when I took the plunge and started auto-paying.

  2. I’m with you. The only thing I have on autopay is my car insurance and that is because I can call the local office and they can put a stop to the payment instantly.

    I also eat close to $25 a month in fees ($15 just to my car payment – which will be gone in September. Woot!) but I am happy to pay it.

    And as for his inner thigh – I think it is from chafing, not tanning. I know, TMI.

  3. I do some autopay, some not. I don’t do autopay with my mortgage because I wouldn’t know when they were taking the money out and this frightens me. Depending on the week, I may not have $1000 sitting in the bank just for my house payment (my hubs gets paid bi-monthly). Paying it myself ensures that the cash flow is there.

  4. I do autopay for most household bills. Most of the horror stories I’ve heard are non-reputable companies or scammers. Our mortgage and credit cards are through Citi, our phone is through Sprint, our electric and gas are through the two biggest utility companies in the area, our water bill is through the city, our cable company is the second biggest provider in the area. I have no problem with any of those and use autopay for them. Now, if I got an offer to sign up for Crazy Bob’s Cell Phone service, first I’d probably wonder about the sanity of signing up in the first place, but for that, I’d probably go with you and skip them getting any information about my accounts.

  5. No autopay for me unless it’s charged to a credit card. I don’t want any businesses going into my checking account for ashley’s reason. If I were paid semi-monthly, I might do it as I would know exactly how much is in checking at any time. But since I’m paid bi-weekly, my balances do not always correlate to the due dates for my bills. As it takes 5 minutes to pay half a dozen bills using online banking, what’s the advantage of autopay?

  6. I started using Direct Debit (Uk versino of auto pay I think) to pay off my creit card monthly. I am an awful procrastinator, and kept missing payments by putting the bill aside to pay later and forgetting about it. When the bank called me up to ask if I was having money problems, and I explained I was just having an orgaisation problem, they suggestede direct debit and I have never looked back.

    These days, if I do all my regular payments by direct debit, and I’ve never had one problem in the past 10 years. In fact there can be some advantages. I had a problem with my TV licence, I was fed up with calling the phone line and getting unhelpful people, so I phoned the bank instead and cancelled the direct debit. Within 2 hours I received a call from the TV licence board, (who claim not to be able to call you back), and a very helpful chap sorted out the problem nobody else had been able to help with, and I agreed to allow the payments to start up again. Sorted!

  7. All my bills are autopaid except credit cards and my mortgage (my largest bill). Most of them are paid out of my checking account–that is, I pay them, they don’t suck money out of my account. The exception is my gas bill.

    I was gung ho about doing things this way in the 80’s, and had a disaster with Check-Free (all of this was before you were born), but things have improved. My bank did forget to pay my electric bill once, but they notified me two days later, so I paid it manually then.

    I like having my bills paid automatically. I do get notified when the bill is paid, and I do check my account at least 3 times/week. The guy who was two months late on his car payments was completely careless.

  8. I don’t do autopay on my bills either. But only because I worry that I’ll forget about a bill coming out and not have money in my account! Overdraft fees terrify me. Anyway, you have to remember that for every person who has an autopay horror story, there are 10 who use it without a problem. But it would stress me out more than put me at ease so I have no desire to use it. (And my bills consist of four things – 1 check for rent and three online payment to Comcast, electric company and cell phone company. It’s not so difficult that I would rather stop doing it completely than just do it manually.)

  9. I use Autopay for almost all my bills – they go to a credit card. There are horror stories for almost everything under the sun – right from climbing down the stairs to walking on the road. But that doesn’t prevent us from doing those things right. And even if they do occur, they are easily fixed with a phone call.

  10. I absolutely do NO auto-pays. I too don’t like to think what could happen. I tried it once with an insurance provider just to have them charge the wrong day and month. We have all our accounts set up for separate purposes so when we plan a payment it is because that is all that we plan to come out of that account at that time. Well the insurance co. charged us a whole month and a half…AFTER we sent in a manual payment thinking they got all screwed up.

    Caused us an NSF fee! We were HOTTTT! We just don’t get those, so to have taken the money out to pay and then have them charge us for the same payment a month late…it was, well, the last time we did auto pay for anything.

  11. I have 12 direct debits each month (they call it that in Canada, like the UK), including RRSP contributions, emergency fund transfers, and bills (insurances, property taxes, etc.).
    I’ve never had any real issues. I just keep track of what is coming out when, and ensure that I have that amount in that account. A couple of times I noticed that a payment didn’t come out as scheduled, called, figured out the problem, and it was resolved lickety split. I have one account that all the household money flows into, and another that the money flows out of (via direct debit). I manually pay the rest of the bills online-credit card, hydro, cable/wireless/phone/internet (one BIG bill), and gas, as these amounts fluctuate each month. No heebie jeebies for me. I wonder whether there are different rules/regs about such debits in Canada vs. the US-our banks generally have a lot more regulation…just hypothesizing

  12. I have a couple of autopays set up for internet, and for car insurance. They go to my credit card. I am like you, I would not trust anyone to debit my bank account. The rest I initiate payment myself and I am very comfortable with that.

  13. I don’t like auto-pay, but we do have it for our life insurance and two business expenses (an email marketing company and his website hosting fees.) I’m not sure that any of those had any other option. I don’t want to do it for any other bills, though. I agree, it kind of freaks me out… but not nearly as much as that dude the photo. *shiver*

  14. I autopay everything I can. I hate wasting a stamp and spending time writing a check. I guess since someone got a hold of my credit card number somehow years ago and spent 20,000 dollars in a day, I don’t think anything is 100 percent safe. (I didn’t have to pay for any of the charges, and I didn’t lose my card. I am guessing a gas station attendant wrote my numbers down somehow or something.) Maybe my credit card snafu should make me feel more vulnerable, but it just made me realize that these days, people can get your number if they want it.

  15. I love auto-pay! I only have 2 bills that I pay each month automatically, which are rent and cell phone. It’s free to mail a check thru my bank and they get sent out the same time each month. Such a no-brainer for me! I also have auto-transfers set up, $200 to my Roth IRA each month and $350 for various savings to INGDirect. Yep, love it & I’ve never heard of any horror stories…or at least ones that weren’t resolved immediately. 🙂

  16. I autopay with my credit card for my cell and cable – but that’s cause I got $50 for each bill I set to auto pay on my credit card! Also I get points for purchases I was gonna make anyway!
    Everything else I set up myself. I love my bank and their bill pay site – it’s so easy!

  17. I thought I was the only one who hated autopay! I hate that the debits never come out on the same day every month, and that the amounts might be higher than I’m expecting. If I never read my bills, I might end up paying for something I’m not even using! No thanks. I prefer to manually pay everything, so they get crossed off my budget. It gives me a sense of completion.

  18. I agree with you about autopay! The only things I have on autopay are where I just straight up didn’t have the option for anything else, which is my gym membership (well it was that or pay for the whole year up front which I didn’t feel like doing in December right before Christmas), a donation I give monthly, and Netflix. Even those 3 which only total about $75, freak me out and I know exactly what dates they come out so I can check them! Clearly I’m a little paranoid about it also 😛

    • oh yeah, Netflix! make that 3 for me too. But would never out of checking acct. If I am going to lose money, I want it to be from CC, not checking acct.

  19. I autopay absolutely everything that will accept a credit card without adding an additional fee. I then auto-debit everything else that will accept that without a fee. So far, I only have to remember to pay for my newspaper subscription, the housekeeper, and the lawn guy.

    If there’s ever a billing error, the company corrects it and pays for anything that was messed up because of it. That’s only happened once to me and it took a 10 minute phone call to get it resolved.

    It’s easier on a credit card than with debit. It also feels safer to me because you have longer to get it corrected without anything being hurt.

    The “trick” is to still check your statements (most of mine are emailed to me monthly) to make sure everything is right.

    I think you should come to the dark side and save your stamps, lol. 🙂

  20. I also love autopay – every single recurring bill is paid straight from my checking account. This is what really saved my credit record – there was a long period of time in my life where things were so busy I just didn’t have time to sit down and handle all the bills, so having things taken care of automatically was a lifesaver.

    I used to sit down every 3-4 months and spend an entire day just going through all the bills, filing, and paying what was due. Obviously not a good plan, so autopay might have been designed with me in mind. Over the last decade, I’ve never had any billing errors with autopay.

  21. I, too, was freaked out by auto pay. I like to be in control of my money and keep a pretty tight lock on my financial info. Until life got in the way (got married) and missed a payment or two. Now I use my bank’s online auto pay. I set it up and the bank sends a check to my creditor. None of my financial information is on the check, and includes only the stuff they need to know like my name and account number with them. I’ve been paying all my bills that way for about 4 years and have never missed a due date or had any other issues.

  22. I heart automatic bill payments – never had a problem (*knock on wood) with it either. It makes life way simpler – and then I don’t accidentally forget to pay something.

    the only thing that’s not on an automatic system are our credit cards.

  23. I heart automatic bill payments – never had a problem (*knock on wood) with it either. It makes life way simpler – and then I don’t accidentally forget to pay something.

    the only thing that’s not on an automatic system are our credit cards.

  24. i dotn do any autopays at all, but im sure if i had a student loan to pay i would be only doing that. i like the fact that when i pay my bills i automatically see where my money is going and how much of it. if everything was automated i think it would be much to easy for me to lose track of all my expenses and only realize it once a month when my checking account gets close to 0!
    Preferred Financial Services Blog

  25. Just say no to autopay. I do let my CU do autopay for the interest savings, but I only put a few payments in the account at a time.

  26. Car payment is autopay from my credit union. We were able to get 5.74% by allowing the autopay (this was originated in 2007).

    Car insurance, Weight Watchers are also autopay. Never had a problem. And we just got a Lending Club loan, which will be autopay.

    Maybe I am just too trusting….but doesn’t bother me in the least.

    Hey….when do we get to hear about the be life changing event of last week?

  27. Yeah, I just set up autopay for my car insurance with USAA – I prepaid for 6 months, then authorized automatic withdrawals from my checking account for the next six months, because it got me a better rate. My genius plan is to be saving up over the next few months so that I can prepay for the next chunk of insurance before the autopay period kicks in. I’ve been with USAA for a long, long time, and I have a credit card and savings account with them too. My parents have used USAA for decades and so has my grandfather, so I trust the company.

    No other autopays, though 😀 I like to pay more than the minimum on just about everything, and seeing the owed balance drop every 2 or 3 weeks reminds me why I’m making financial sacrifices in other areas.

  28. I have never used auto pay. Just gives me the feeling I’m losing control of my $. I have used online pay for a one time payment. Only when I have forgotten to write out the bills in a time.

  29. I cannot tell you how much I HATE auto-pay. The only thing I have through auto-pay is my student loan (and like you, received a half a point off my interest rate). Wait, I lied. Netflix and my gym membership comes out of my checking every month, too. I could have it charged to my credit card, but I’m trying to stop using my credit card.

    I like to manually pay everything and check off each debt once I’m done. Like you, it gives me a welcomed sense of control over my money. I also hate having to wait for a payment to be made. If I have the money in my account, I want to pay the bill then, not have to wait for a certain day of the month.

    I can see why some people like it, but it’s just not my cup o’ tea.

  30. I don’t use auto pay for any of my bills. I also feel very insecure about giving away my banking information to another company. I have heard of situations where auto pay is used and the payment amount has changed or there was no payment to be made so auto pay really complicated things when a set amount was taken from a bank account.

  31. We learned our lesson with direct deposit of paychecks in contrast to auto payments. An employer was angry that my husband quit on a Monday and “took back” his paycheck deposited on Friday. They initiated a withdrawal in the name of a totally different company owned by the same person. The bank said there was nothing they could do because we gave them permission by signing up for direct deposit and giving them our account info. We had to file a police report for theft and hire a lawyer to convince (scare) them to return the money with a check in hand. Absolutely crazy!

  32. It is refreshing to hear that autopay gives other people than me the heebyjeebies. Several years ago my wife discontinued her membership at “Curves” but they kept tapping out checking account every month anyway. Our bank said there was nothing they could do about it…we had to work it out with Curves, which we eventually did. But it was a hassle.

  33. I’ve used auto pay for most of my bills-my fiance feels the way that you do. After hearing his explanation of why and after reading many other horror stories I’m reevaluating my decision.

  34. dude you are a funny cat…the P.S. thing just made me laugh at loud at work and i easily got 3 weird looks. well played

  35. first, I didn’t notice the ‘inner thigh’ tan, and didn’t feel very good about the whole thing after scrolling back up to check it out…eewwwww.

    I don’t give access to my account for very many companies, but I do use an online service to manage my payments and send e-checks to cover bills. Many of them are auto payments where I simply set up a rule that will pay the bill as long as the charge is within a certain range.

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