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I've been a long-time user of PayTrust. The idea behind the service is great: I can receive bills through PayTrust, view them online and set up payment rules to pay them automatically. However, Intuit (its parent company) has allowed the service to decay to the point where it has become simply unbearable: e-bill retrieval fails silently, paper bills are wrongly assigned (or not at all), the system fails to follow payment rules. I've had enough, and I'm cancelling my PayTrust account.

What are my alternatives?

So far, I see these options:

  1. Billpay through my bank: It's free, but it doesn't receive bills for me. I would have to go to the payee's websites each month to find out how much I owe, or I would have to receive paper bills in the mail (something I definitely don't want). My bank does support e-bills; however, none of my payees are on their list.

  2. Auto-pay through the payees: Many payees, especially credit card companies, offer a service to debit my checking account automatically each month. I don't feel comfortable with this option. I'm concerned that I lose leverage in the event of fraud or a merchant dispute. Since the payees already have my money (via a direct debit authorization), they're less inclined to resolve a billing dispute.

I'm looking for a way to pay bills automatically, but in a way that still allows me to intercede in the event of fraud. In essence, a service that tells me that I received a bill for $1,000 from my MasterCard on the 5th, and if I take no further action, it will be automatically paid from my checking account on the 20th -- just what PayTrust does today, but in a reliable way.

Any suggestions?

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The obvious answer would be to find a bank with a bill pay system that works. –  Benjamin Chambers Nov 3 '11 at 4:30
1  
I agree with the complaints! I too, have been using Paytrust since before it was Paytrust and have seen their total lack of customer support. They do the olde time finger pointing at the biller when scraping the ebill fails. They don't answer complaints, they don't care whether you use them or not. When you try to escalate the problem, you stay on hold FOR EVER!! Still, they do provide a service - low quality - but functional... –  user10983 Aug 19 '13 at 16:15

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ally bank has a free billpay service where you have the option of paying bills via eBills.

Though I use Ally's billPay service (and I write about my experience with Ally in my blog), I haven't used eBills, but from reading your question, looks like this is what you are looking for.

From Ally's site:

What are eBills? An eBill is an online version of a bill or statement that can replace a traditional paper copy. Many large companies, like your electric, phone, cable and major credit card companies have the ability to send you eBills.

To receive eBills at Ally, you must already receive your bill online at the biller's website. Ally will ask for the biller's website credentials to set up an eBill.

Hope this helps.

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I think that he specifically mentioned that none of his payees support eBills.... –  littleadv Oct 4 '11 at 2:46
    
His bank doesn't have the payees he uses in their eBills system. Maybe other banks do since PayTrust's eBill system did support his payees. –  MoneyCone Oct 4 '11 at 12:05
    
Ally Bank does not support payments for other bank accounts. I'd vote this down if I had the reputation –  KevinDeus Feb 13 at 20:15

Paytrust seems to be the only game in town. We've changed banks several times over the last 15 years and I can tell you that using a bank's bill pay service locks you in, big time. I loved paytrust because I could make one change if we changed banks. If you're using a bank directly for your bills, the ides of recreating your payee list is daunting.

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Instead of looking for a comparable alternative service, which could very well run into the same problems, how about taking what you like from PayTrust and rolling your own hybrid approach.

Here is what I'm switching to after years of growing frustrated with PayTrust, myself:

  1. REDUCE: Eliminate unnecessary services... anything that doesn't enhance my life in a positive way is summarily axed. This eliminates a bill and all the handling around it. This applies to everything from TV to extra credit cards.

  2. BILLING: Switch to paperless billing using a reliable, long-term email account. Perhaps a dedicated account just for billing will help.

  3. PAYMENT: Pay by check or electronic, but pay as bills come in, so if there are problems, you have time to resolve them before the due date.

  4. REMINDERS: As bills come in, create recurring events in a calendar for Bill Date and Due Date. Most calendar apps let you create tags or filters, so one for "Bills" might be useful.

  5. VERIFY: On or before the due date, verify the payment posted or cleared.

  6. LIST: Maintain a master list of current billers, account #s, web login info, etc. Store in a secure, yet accessible location, perhaps with a paper backup.

  7. UPDATE: If you need to contact your billers to update contact info, refer to your master list, make phone calls or log in to update records. The master list might make a great place to keep track of last payment and amount, so you can catch anything unusual.

You are in control, and that is priceless. I've even taken to writing checks by hand again. I know it's quaint, but it does give me a better sense of where my money is going and periodically evaluate whether I'm getting quality benefits in exchange for my hard-earned money.

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An old question... but the recent answer for me turned out to be Check (formerly Pageonce)

https://check.me/

The only thing Check doesn't do that PayTrust did was accept paper bills from payees that couldn't do eBill... but that's a rare problem anymore (for me anyways). I went through each of my payees in PayTrust and added them into Check, it found almost all of them... I added my security info for their logins, and it was setup. The few that Check couldn't find, it asked me for the details and would contact them to try and get it setup... but in the meantime I just added them to my bank's billpay system with automatic payment rules (my mortgage company was the only one it couldn't find, and I know what my mortgage is every month so it's easy to setup a consistent rule)

Check does so much more than PayTrust will ever do... Check has a MOBILE APP, and it is really the centerpiece of the whole system... you never really log into the website from your desktop (except to setup all the payees)... most of the time you just get alerts on your phone when a bill is due and you just click "pay" and choose a funding source, and bam you're done.

It's been awesome so far... I highly recommend dumping PayTrust for it!

FYI: Check is clearly winning at this point, but some of the competition are are http://manilla.com (not sure if you can pay your bills through them though) and DoxoPay ( https://www.doxo.com/posts/pay-your-bills-on-the-go-with-mobile-doxopay-new-android-app-and-an-updated-iphone-app/ )

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FYI: I just noticed Check was adding 99cent "late fee protection" OPTION to every bill-pay. Since it's an option, I turned it off... but of course they had it turned on by default :) –  Nick Franceschina Apr 16 at 15:31

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