Bill Pay FAQ’s
Q:What is an E-bill?
A: An E-bill (electronic bill) is an electronic version of a paper bill that you can view online through Online Bill Pay.
Q:How does electronic billing work with Online Bill Pay?
A: Online Bill Pay lets you make payments and receive and pay bills online through your Financial Institution. You can make payments to anyone, anytime, anywhere in the United States, from your mortgage lender to your newspaper carrier. The only payments you cannot make through your bill payment service are court-ordered payments and state and federal tax payments.
Electronic billing lets you receive electronic bills (E-bills) online through Online Bill Pay. Some payees are able to send E-bills to their customers. If you add a payee that is E-bill-capable, you have the opportunity to request E-bills from the payee.
Once your request has been authorized, you’ll receive an E-bill from the payee within a month or so, depending on the payee’s billing cycle. You can pay the E-bill directly, and you can continue to make single payments to the payee whenever needed.
Q:Is an E-bill the same as a mailed bill statement or invoice?
A: An E-bill is a statement or invoice in an electronic format. E-bills typically contain the same information as your mailed bills.
Q:How do I receive E-bills?
A: You can receive E-bills from payees that are E-bill-capable. Once you request E-bills from a payee and the request is processed, you should receive a message stating that your E-bill service has been activated. E-bill service requests are usually processed within two weeks. New E-bills appear on the E-bills page as either paid or unpaid.
Q:How long does it take to receive E-bills from a payee?
A: It may take up to two weeks for the payee to process your request for E-bills. Once your request has been accepted, it may take a month or more, depending on the payee’s billing cycle, before you begin receiving bills electronically.
Q:How do I know when I receive a new E-bill?
A: The Unpaid E-bills page lists your new E-bills. A notice also appears on the Online Banking Home page to let you know when new E-bills arrive.
If you are waiting for an E-bill service request to be processed, check Messages periodically for a notice stating that your E-bill service has been activated for the payee. The time it takes to receive the first E-bill depends on the payee’s billing cycle.
Q:Will I still receive a paper copy of the bill through U.S. mail?
A: It depends on the payee. Some payees stop sending a paper bill and only send an E-bill to your Online Bill Pay account. Other payees continue to send paper bills through U.S. mail in addition to an E-bill to your Online Bill Pay account.
Q:Can I store or view paid E-bills?
A: You can view paid E-bills by going to E-bills and then clicking Paid E-bills. You can always use your browser’s print feature to print the bill if you want to keep long-term records. You can also view an E-bill for which you have a scheduled or canceled payment. However, you cannot view deleted E-bills.
Q:How do I pay E-bills?
A: You can pay one or more E-bills from the Unpaid E-bills page. For more information on paying E-bills, go to the help on the E-bills page. As with all Online Bill Pay payments, you control the payment amount and payment date.
Q:Can I pay E-bills outside of Online Bill Pay?
A: Yes, you can pay an E-bill by some other way (by check, for example). If you pay the E-bill by some other method, you can delete the unpaid E-bill from the Unpaid E-bill page. Once you delete the E-bill, you cannot view the bill or bill statement again through Online Bill Pay. Unpaid E-bills are never deleted automatically by Online Bill Pay. You can also print a copy of the E-bill for your long-term records using your browser’s print feature.
Q:Can I make more than one E-bill payment at the same time (can I combine payments going to the same payee)?
A: No, for the E-bill payment to work properly, you must pay each E-bill individually.
Q:Can I pay someone else’s E-bills?
A: No, the bill must be in your name or your spouse’s name.
PAYEES AND E-BILLS
Q:How do I request E-bills from one of my payees?
A: If a payee in your payee list can send E-bills, the Sign Up link appears in the E-bills column on the Payee Setup – Payee List page. Click this link to request E-bills. Remember, the payee may take a couple of weeks to process your request.
If you want to find out if a payee not in your list can send E-bills, try adding the payee. When you add a payee that is E-bill-capable, Online Bill Pay will automatically ask you if you want to receive E-bills. You can also click a link on the Add Payee page to view a list of all payees that can send E-bills. The symbol next to a payee’s name indicates you can request E-bills from the payee.
Tip: Online Bill Pay is always updating the list of payees that can send E-bills! If you added a payee that cannot send E-bills and later you notice that the payee can send E-bills, just click the Sign Up link next to the payee name in your payee list.
Q:What if my request for E-bills is rejected?
A: If your request for E-bills is rejected, you have a couple of options, which are listed below:
- You can try to request E-bills again and make sure to enter your information (especially your account number) completely and accurately.
- You can contact the payee to see if they can explain why they cannot send you E-bills. For example, some payees cannot send E-bills to customers in certain areas of the country.
Q:What happens if I delete a payee who sends me E-bills?
A: When you delete a payee who sends you E-bills, Online Bill Pay automatically removes the payee from your payee list, sends a message to the payee and asks them to stop sending E-bills. You can no longer pay any unpaid E-bills listed in the Unpaid E-bills page for the deleted payee; therefore it is advisable to pay unpaid E-bills before deleting the payee.
It is also possible, due to the payee’s billing cycle, that you may receive an E-bill after you have deleted the payee. If you receive an E-bill after you have deleted the payee, you can add the payee again (without requesting E-bills) and make the payment from the Make Payments page, or you can pay the bill through U.S. mail.
Q:How can I stop receiving E-bills from a payee?
A: To stop receiving E-bills from a payee, go to Payee Setup, and then click View/Change next to the payee. Select Click here to discontinue E-bill service. The payee is notified to stop sending E-bills. However, you may receive an E-bill after canceling E-bill service due to the payee’s billing cycle. Make a payment to the payee from the Make Payments page to cover the E-bill or make the payment by some other means.
Q:I chose to stop receiving paper bills from a payee and now I want to start getting my bills mailed to me again. How do I do that?
A: If you are currently receiving E-bills, and no corresponding paper bill, from a payee, you can start receiving paper bills again by canceling E-bill service for that payee.
Q:I want to stop being prompted to only receive E-bills and not receive paper bills every time I pay an E-bill. How do I do that?
A: There are two ways to stop seeing the prompts to only receive E-bills and not receive paper bills. Do one of the following:
- When you are in the process of paying an E-bill, you can answer Yes to the questions to stop receiving paper bills.
- You can change the settings for the payee. Go to Payee Setup, select the name of the payee you want to change, and look in the Stop Receiving Paper Bills section for the available options.
Note: Some payees automatically stop sending you paper bills when you sign up for E-bills, so this prompt might not appear for every payee that you receive E-bills from.
Q:What happens if I choose to stop receiving paper bills?
A: When you choose to stop receiving paper bills from a payee and you agree to the payee’s Terms and Conditions for receiving E-bills, Online Bill Pay takes care of notifying the payee to stop sending you paper bills in the mail. It can sometimes take up to a month to stop receiving paper bills, depending on the payee’s billing cycle for your account.
Online Bill Pay will notify you electronically when you have an E-bill, either by sending you a message or displaying a message when you sign in to Online Bill Pay. Check the settings on the Payee Setup page to see if Online Bill Pay can also send you E-bill summaries by e-mail for this payee.
After you receive notification that you have a new E-bill, you can pay the E-bill through Online Bill Pay, which saves you time and money, and helps the environment by eliminating paper bills.
Q:The amount for an E-bill seems incorrect. What should I do?
A: If you have questions about an E-bill, please contact the payee directly. All information on the E-bill comes directly from the payee, the same as when they mail you a paper bill. Remember that you control the payment amount when you pay the E-bill.
If an E-bill amount is incorrect, make sure to contact the payee to avoid any late charges. Look on your last bill for the payee’s customer service phone number.
Q:My E-bill is late. What should I do?
A: If your normal billing cycle has passed and you still have not received your E-bill, contact your payee. Payees deliver E-bills much like they deliver your paper bills. Depending on billing cycles, the exact day you receive your bill each month may vary. Also remember that it can take over a month before you receive your first E-bill from a payee. Look on your last bill for the payee’s customer service phone number.
PAYMENT QUESTIONS AND PROBLEMS
Q:What do I do if the payee has not received or credited my payment?
A: Sometimes the payee may not credit your account immediately after receiving a payment. If the payment is not credited in a reasonable amount of time, take the following steps to resolve the problem:
- Wait five days after the scheduled payment date to see if the payee credits the payment to your account.
- If the payment is not applied to your account, call the payee’s customer service department to see if they received the payment and credited your account.
- When you call, gather the following information from the payee:
- The name of the person who assisted you with your payment question.
- The phone number you called to contact the payee.
- The date you called the payee to inquire about your payment.
- The amount of any late fees or finance charges assessed.
- If you have received a late fee but scheduled your payment on time, ask the payee if they will waive any late fees or finance charges.
- If the payment is not credited to your account or if the payee will not waive late fees, find the payment in Payment Activity. Click View in the Payment column to access the Payment Activity – View Payment page. Then click Inquire about this payment… to send us a message that includes the information you gathered from the payee.
Q:What do I do if I receive a late fee for a payment?
A: If you have received a late fee or finance charge for a late payment that you scheduled on time, follow these steps:
- Call the payee’s customer service department.
- When you call, gather the following information:
- The name of the person who assisted you with your payment question.
- The phone number you called to contact the payee.
- The date you called the payee to inquire about the late fees.
- The amount of any late fees or finance charges assessed.
- Ask the payee to waive any fees or finance charges.
- If the payee will not waive the fees or charges, find the payment in Payment Activity. Click View in the Payment column to access the Payment Activity – View Payment page. Then click Inquire about this payment… to send us a message that includes the information you gathered from the payee.
Q:How can I confirm that a payment has been made?
A: After the payment date, check Payment Activity to see if the status of the payment is Processed. If the status is Processed, then the payment has been sent to the payee. You can also check to see if the funds have been withdrawn from your payment account. For example, check your next statement for the withdrawal. Or you can call the payee to see if they received and credited the payment. Sometimes it may take the payee a few days to credit your account.
Q:How do I cancel a payment?
A: You can cancel a payment while its status is Scheduled. Once a payment’s status is In Process or Processed, you can no longer cancel or change the payment. You can cancel payments from the Payment Activity page.
Q:What do I do if a payment failed?
A: Failed is a status that appears in Payment Activity if a payee returns one of your bill payments to us. The payee may have returned the payment because the information you provided when you added or updated the payee in your payee list wasn’t sufficient for the payee to credit your account. You may consider making the payment by other means if it is close to the bill’s actual due date.
If you have a failed payment, please take the following steps. These steps ensure that your payment information is attached to your message.
- Go to Payment Activity and find the failed payment.
- Click Inquire. The Payment Activity – Payment Inquiry page opens. Use this page to tell us more about the problem with the payment.
- Complete all of the boxes.
- Click Send. Your message is sent.
- Click Close. The Payment Activity page opens.
- Check Messages in three to four business days for a reply.
- If you are concerned about meeting the payment’s actual due date, send the payment by check in the meantime.
Q:How do I change a payment?
A: If a payment status is still Scheduled, you can make changes to the payment. Go to Payment Activity and click View/Change next to the payment that you need to change. Make changes to the amount or the payment date, as necessary.
Note: After a payment has started processing, you can no longer make changes to it. A payment has started processing if the payment status is anything other than Scheduled (for instance, In Process or Processed). If you overpaid the amount, contact the payee to request a refund or a credit toward your next payment.
Q:How do I know what the status of my payment is?
A: Look for the payment in Payment Activity. The following describes the statuses:
- Scheduled indicates that the payment is scheduled to be made.
- In Process indicates that the payment is now being processed and cannot be changed or canceled. Payments can start processing two to four days before the scheduled due date. Depending on the way the payment is processed, this status may not appear on the Payment Activity page.
- Processed indicates that the payment date has arrived. Normally, the payee receives the payment on the due date. Keep in mind that the payee may take a few days to credit your account.
- Canceled indicates that you canceled the scheduled payment.
- Failed indicates that the payment was returned to us either because there was a problem when Online Bill Pay tried to withdraw the payment from your payment account or because the account information sent with your payment was not enough for us to credit your account. This status can also occur when the payment account associated with the payment has been closed.
PAYMENT PROCESS QUESTIONS
Q:How does a payee receive my money?
A: Online Bill Pay determines if the payment will be made electronically or by check, based on whether the payee accepts electronic payments and other guidelines. For example, some payees, such as individuals, cannot receive electronic payments, so a check is printed and sent to the payee. Whether a payment is made electronically or by check, the payment is processed to reach the payee on time.
Q:What is printed on the paper checks you send?
A: The paper checks display the same information that you complete on the Make Payments page. This information includes:
- Your name
- Payee name
- Payee account number
- Payment amount
- Payment date
Note: In some cases, the paper checks are drawn against your payment account. When this is the case, your payment account number will also appear on the check.
Q:When does a payee receive my payment?
A: The payee should receive the payment on the due date. It may take the payee a little longer to credit the payment to your account.
Q:When is the money for the payment drawn from my payment account?
A: If the payment is sent electronically, the funds for the payment clear your account on the due date. Otherwise, funds clear your account when the payee deposits or cashes the check. Keep in mind, however, that you should always have funds available to cover the payment on the scheduled payment date.
Q:Can I make payments from more than one payment account?
A: Yes, you can make payments from more than one payment account. The account number you select when making a payment is the account your payments are withdrawn from.
Q:Can I make international payments?
A: No, you cannot send a payment to a foreign address.
Q:How far in advance of the due date should I schedule my payments?
A: When making a payment, the first available payment date allowed by Online Bill Pay is four business days from today. The payment date is the date that the payment is due. For example, if you have a bill due on the 15th of the month, go to Make Payments on the 11th of the month or earlier if the time period includes any weekends or holidays. This will allow you to schedule the payment date for the 15th. If you wait until after the 11th to schedule the payment, the payment date will have to be set later than the 15th and the bill payment may be late.
Scheduling pay dates sufficiently in advance of the due date on the bill allows enough time for the payee to receive the payment and credit it to your account.
Note: Whether the payment is electronic or sent by mail, payees may not always credit your account on the same day that they receive the payment. Allow for extra time in this situation so the payment is not considered late, or contact the payee.
Q:What is the earliest payment date I can schedule for a payment?
A: You can schedule payment dates four business days from today or later. The earliest possible payment date is indicated on the E-bills and Make Payments pages. If you try to schedule a payment earlier, you are asked to reschedule the payment date at least four business days from the current date.
Q:Why do you need four days to process a payment?
A: Four business days before a payment’s payment date, Online Bill Pay looks at your payment to determine how it should be processed. For example, Online Bill Pay needs to know if the payment is going to a payee that can accept electronic payments or if the payment should be sent as a check. After Online Bill Pay determines how to process the payment, you can no longer make changes to it; your changes could affect how Online Bill Pay would process the payment. The payee then receives the payment on the due date.
Q:What do I do with the part of the mailed bill statement that I used to mail back with my payment?
A: You don’t need to do anything with your bill statement-payees do not need that portion of your statement. All of the information you provide when adding payees and scheduling payments is sufficient for the payee. If you like, you can keep the statement for your own records.
Q:How do payments show up on my payment account statement?
A: When you receive your payment account statement, the payments made through Online Bill Pay usually appear as electronic withdrawals (similar to ATM withdrawals) even if Online Bill Pay sends a paper check to the payee.
Note: In some cases the paper checks are drawn against your payment account. When this is the case, the payments will appear on your payment account statement just like your other checks.
Q:Are repeating payments scheduled automatically?
A: Yes, payments are automatically scheduled based on the information you enter on the Make Payments – Repeating Payments page.
Q:Can I pay E-bills automatically?
A: Auto-Pay is an optional feature available for many payees that can send E-bills. If Auto-Pay is available, you can set it up when you add an E-bill-capable payee and sign-up for E-bills. If available, you can also add Auto-Pay later by changing the payee information from the Payee Setup – Payee List page.
Q:What is a payee?
A: A payee is any company, service, or individual you make payments to. Payees can be anyone who bills you, such as your phone company or credit card, or individuals, such as your landlord or newspaper carrier.
Q:Who can I pay using my bill payment service?
A: You can pay anyone in the United States that you would normally pay by check or automated debit, with the following exceptions:
- State and federal tax payments
- Court-ordered payments
Q:Do I need to contact the payees I decide to pay with Online Bill Pay?
A: No, you do not need to contact your payees if you use this service. Online Bill Pay sends each of your payments with your payee account number and payee information, so the payees are able to credit your account appropriately.
Q:Can I add the same payee to my payee list more than once?
A: Yes, you can add the same payee to your payee list more than once. You can add multiple payee accounts for the same payee as long as you have different payee account numbers. For example, if your phone company provides your home phone service and your cellular phone service, you can add the company as a payee twice by entering a different account number each time.
Q:How do I find out if my payee sends E-bills?
A: You can easily find out if your payee sends E-bills while you are adding the payee or after you have added a payee.
- When you add a payee that is E-bill-capable, Online Bill Pay will automatically ask you if you want to receive E-bills. You can also click a link on the Payee Setup – Add Payee page to view a list of all payees that can send E-bills.
- If a payee you have added to your payee list can send E-bills, the Sign Up link appears in the E-bills column on the Payee Setup – Payee List page. Click this link to request E-bills.
Remember, the payee may take a couple of weeks to process your request to receive E-bills.
Q:What is Auto-Pay?
A: Auto-Pay is an optional feature available for many payees that can send E-bills. If Auto-Pay is available for an E-bill-capable payee, you have the option to select it. Auto-Pay automatically pays E-bills by scheduling the payment date in time for the payee to receive the payment by the E-bill’s due date. Auto-Pay pays the E-bill’s minimum amount due. When you set up Auto-Pay, you can select to automatically pay the E-bill regardless of the payment amount, or you can select to set a limit on the amount automatically paid. Please note that entering an amount in the “Only pay the minimum amount due for E-bills if it is less than this amount” field means that the E-bills minimum amount due – not the amount you enter – will be paid if the minimum amount due is less than the amount you enter.
Q:Why can’t I use Auto-Pay to pay all payees?
A: A payee must be able to send E-bills through this service and also have a system capable of receiving automatic payments. Online Bill Pay offers Auto-Pay for all payees who meet these requirements.
Q:How do I turn on Auto-Pay?
A: If Auto-Pay is available, you can set up Auto-Pay when you add a payee, or you can add it later by changing payee information from the Payee Setup – Payee List page.
Q:What happens if the amount due for an E-bill exceeds the maximum amount automatically paid?
A: If the minimum amount due for an E-bill exceeds the maximum amount set for Auto-Pay, Online Bill Pay does not automatically schedule the payment. You receive a message letting you know that the E-bill’s minimum amount due exceeds the maximum amount automatically paid. Make the payment through the Make Payments – Single Payments or Make Payments – Multiple Payments page or by some other means. If you think that the amount due is incorrect, contact the payee.
Q:How do I change the maximum amount automatically paid for an Auto-Pay payment?
A: Go to Payee Setup, and then click View/Change next to the payee. In the Auto-Pay section, type a new amount in the Only pay E-bills for less than this amount box. Your changes are effective immediately.
Q:Why was my E-bill paid late?
A: If a payee sends an E-bill late and the actual due date is before the earliest available payment date (remember Online Bill Pay needs a few days to process payments), Auto-Pay schedules the payment for the earliest possible payment date. Please contact your payee if an E-bill arrives late and you are charged a late fee.
Financial Software Downloads
Q:How do I download my payment activity for use in programs like Quicken or Money?
A: You can export information about your payment transactions into either a QIF (Quicken Interchange Format) file for Quicken® or an Active Statement file for Microsoft® Money. Keep the following in mind when creating import files:
- You cannot generate an import file for all of your payment accounts at the same time. (If you have more than one payment account set up, select one account in the Payment Account Search section and click Search to display the payments for that account.)
- Only information about scheduled, in process, and processed payments is exported.
- You can generate an import file for:
- Quicken versions ’99 or newer or an import file for 98 or older versions.
- Money versions ’99 or newer or an import file for older versions.
Go to Payment Activity, and select one payment account from the Payment Account listing in the Payment Activity Search section. (Note: If you leave the default search criteria as All Accounts, an error message appears telling you to select one payment account from which to create the file.) Click Search and the Payment Activity page updates to show only those payments associated with the selected account. At the bottom of the page in the Financial Software Export section, select your Quicken or Money software version from the list. Click Export and the File Download dialog box opens. Select Save this file to disk and click OK. Your browser opens a Save As dialog box that lets you specify the name of the file and the location where you want to save it. Select the location where the file should be saved, and click Save or the equivalent button. The file is saved on your computer.
Tip For more information on how to import the file into your version of Quicken or Money, reference the help section within your personal finance software.