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I've only read the past 60 or so posts, so I apologize if this has been previously mentioned. But I haven't seen this info posted by anyone else.

A few months ago, one of my utility companies sent me information about paying my bill automatically through an automatic electronic transfer from my bank account. This sounded like a very convienient way to pay my bill, plus it avoids any chance of ever paying any late fees. (And call me cheap, but I also save the price of a stamp!)

So not only did I sign up, but I got on an automatic payment "kick" and check with my other utilities to see if they offered the same service. (In my opinion, they're stupid not to - think of how much less labor, read $dollars$, it takes to have computers collect for you, instead of humans opening envelopes.) I found that ALL my utilities has such programs, so after a couple weeks of filling out forms, I had my phone, cable, electric, gas, water/sewer, car insurance, and home mortgage bills paid automaticly.

Later, I was on the phone with my credit card company about something else, and during one of the numerous waits, I wondered if I could do the same thing with credit card. I figured that I wouldn't be able to because of all the late fees and extra interest CC companies get to collect when one is late or forgets to pay his bill, but I figured I didn't have anything to lose by asking. So after finally getting to speak to a human and settling my other question, I asked (in a skeptical tone) whether they had an automatic payment plan.

To my surprise they did! So I'm now in the process of setting it up. So far this process is MUCH harder than for my utilities. I originally FAXed back the filled-out form, and after about a month, called to check on the status. They informed me that they couldn't set up the plan for me because I hadn't included a cancelled check, even though I had provided the routing and account numbers they require. (Can anyone tell me how I was supposed to provide a cancelled check via FAX?!) But I'll again post when the plan is up and running.

A couple more notes:
1) My credit card is through First USA, so I don't know if other companies offer this service.
2) They provided various options as to how much to pay off each month. I think the options were pay off the complete balance, pay off a fixed amount, or pay the minimum, but I'm only sure about the pay off the complete balance option because thats the option I Foolishly chose.

Hope this helps someone.

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