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August 22, 2021

Is autopaying your bills a good idea?

Although I wouldn’t describe myself as an early adapter, I have switched to automated payments for most of my bills— primarily because it’s convenient and, in some instances, generates credit cad points. Although there's something to be said for seeing a balance in front of you ans writing a cheque of paying online.

Bill But, says Marketwatch, letting vendors reach into your wallet each and every month can be a problem since you may be setting yourself up for all-too-frequent fee hikes, surprise costs, and payments for services you never even use.

I do check, of course, and haven’t had many problems but maybe I’ve been lucky. Anyway, here are five fees you may want to worry about, Marketwatch warns.

Mobile Phone Bills. Perhaps the only thing more exasperating than getting your usual sky-high smartphone bill is getting a bill that's even higher than you expect after you've exceeded your plan's texting, phone, or data limits. How closely do you review those charges?

Insurance Payments. Aggressive advertising from insurance companies has conditioned people to look for the very best prices on home and auto insurance. Even though they only show up once or twice a year, shopping rates is difficult if you’re always doing it after the fact.

Utilities. Sitting down to pay water, electric, and heating bills may seem like an onerous chore, but those bills may be the first tipoff that something's out of whack, particularly if you’ve signed up for some sort of prepaid commodity rate.

Gym Memberships. According to a study done by Stanford and Berkeley researchers, most people dramatically overestimate the number of times they go to the gym each month — in essence paying $17 a visit with a monthly fee. Better to pay a la carte or packages of passes instead.

Cable Bills. Cable used to have a lock on the best programming, but that's not always the case.  Instead of shelling out three figures every month to get your weekly Mad Men fix, consider individual purchases from iTunes or Netflix.

Do you pay your bills automatically or through a credit card? Problems? Suggestions?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...