Residential users typically pay utility bills to local town, city or county government utility departments; they may mail the payments to the appropriate office, or deliver them directly. However, many cities and towns also allow residents to pay utility bills online. Alternatively, residents may opt for automatic bank draft payments through a participating bank. Check the local government website to see if electronic or automatic utility bill payment is an option.Continue Reading
To set up an automatic bank draft payment from a checking account, residents fill out an application for the service and provide a voided check to confirm checking account numbers and transfer information. It may take time before the bank draft payment takes effect, but the utility department notifies residents when payments have been automatically deducted. For example, the utility department of Palo Alto, California, recommends that residents continue paying utility bills by other means until they receive written notice that the draft has taken effect. In Palo Alto, it may take two billing cycles before automatic bank draft payments are in place.
Residents who wish to pay bills online with a credit or debit card can use a secure online account. The features of online payment include paperless billing, online billing history and budget planning. In some cases, online billing incurs extra fees for residents. For example, residents of Pembroke Pines, Florida, are charged a fee for online accounts to cover the cost of a third-party electronic processing company. Some online services may stipulate that users pay bills by a certain time of day. The city of Denton, Texas, requires users to pay by 5 p.m. in order for the payment to register for that day. Late payments are processed the following day and may incur penalty fees.Learn more about Household Budgets