Online bill paying has certainly made a nagging monthly chore easier. But there are still usually multiple Web sites to juggle – and passwords to remember.
Now, there are several services that promise to consolidate your bills and let you pay them all in one place. There certainly seems to be a market for such services. A 2007 survey from Harris Interactive and the Marketing Workshop found that those surveyed pay on average 11.5 bills a month. Seventy-four percent of surveyed households pay at least one bill online. And on average, respondents said they spend about two hours a month dealing with the logistics of paying bills.
•Quicken Bill Pay (quickenbillpay.com) is a product of Intuit’s Quicken money-management system. It costs $9.95 a month for the first 20 payments, allowing you to route 10 different bank accounts through Quicken Bill Pay. Additional sets of five payments are $2.49 per set. And there’s a 30-day free trial for up to 20 payments.
You can also use Bill Pay with the desktop version of Quicken software, a program to track bills, spending and saving plans. •PayTrust (paytrust.com), another product of Intuit, has three services for paying bills: Total Bill Management ($12.95 per month for 30 transactions), PayAnyone ($2.95 per month for no free transactions) and PayAnyone plus E-bills ($4.95 per month for no free transactions). Additional transactions under any of the three plans cost 50 cents. (Receiving and paying a bill each counts as one transaction).
•MyCheckFree (mycheckfree.com) allows users to pay bills from more than 400 providers. MyCheckFree charges no fees for the site, but there’s a chance your bank might charge you to use the service.
REVERSE MORTGAGES: This month, many older homeowners got some long-awaited good news when the Department of Housing and Urban Development approved the higher lending limits for reverse mortgages. Now a home equity conversion mortgage, or HECM, can be federally insured up to $417,000.
Over the past few years, the popularity of reverse mortgages has increased despite ongoing debate about their benefits.
In 2001, HUD reported that 7,793 HECM loans were funded. So far in 2008, there have been 112,154.
From wire reports