The state of the art method for paying and receiving bills online is electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP)
. EBPP is an electronic means of making payments and passing along billing information in a secure and real-time online environment.
EBPP consists of two sides: payment and presentment. While firms such as PayPal have found a niche as the Western Unions of the Internet for handling payments, an online account is likely to provide greater control and savings over online transactions in the long run.
With EBPP, you authorize your bank to debit
your account for amounts and on payment dates that you specify. You can pay your utility bills, mortgage and auto, and any other regular monthly payments.
Since EBPP keeps a log of your transactions, it also keeps your monthly statements online. This amenity cuts down on the volume of paper records you receive and maintain, and allows you to quickly retrieve archived information.
You can also use electronic bill payment to pay your federal and state income taxes. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
encourages you to submit your tax returns online using its e-file
program, which handled 80.5 million tax returns in 2007. E-file is free, safe, and accurate. Most states offer similar electronic-payments systems.
Bill presentment is the other side of EBPP. Presentment is a fancy way of saying it shows you the bills. For example, your cell phone company or water utility can present a bill online rather than mail you one.