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Honored Advisor

Updating autopay

We talked a few weeks back about using and updating autopay for simplifying bill management, especially for elders under our care and supervision.  With the theft of our credit card number last week, I am going through an unscheduled updating of all of our autopay accounts. 


Fortunately, all of the insurance premiums draft from various checking accounts, so those are not in this set of concerns.  I sat down and made a list from memory of all the companies we autopay with the VISA, then checked that against the most recent monthly statement.  For us, that was 16 accounts, with eight different companies.    


If you have your statement in hand, using their tollfree number or online site is easy, and your account number is ready when they ask you for it.  If the account is in another person's name, you may have to have their authorization, or give the last four of their SS#.  Also, you statement may have somewhere on it the autopay enrollment forms...they were on the backside of my most recent phone bills, for example, and the phone company only accepts written authorization now. 


Two electric cooperatives, eight accounts, in two states, two totally different methods for making the update.  One did it on the phone, the other faxed forms for me to fill out with new CC info and fax back. 


Almost everything else, you can either do online or on the phone is a few minutes.  DirecTV had a system maintenance going on, so I will get that one done tomorrow...couldn't be accessed in any manner. 


So, let's say, roughly 2 hours work to update all of our autopay accounts.  I am making copies of everything, so when I have to do this when the account expires and gets a new expiration date next spring, I can follow the breadcrumbs.  (I was hoping they would extend the account for another three years when this one was hacked, but NO!)


Do not forget that your long distance bill and account may be separate from any of your regular phone bills, and, if so, will need to be updated for payment purposes separately.  Devil is in the details.


I would suggest that anyone setting up autopay initially,  or updating a total group of them this way, do the following:  make copies of all forms you mail; make notes, including phone number and account number of any you do by phone; and, write down username and password for any you do online.  (Frankly, I hope all of this will eventually be an accessible function online.)  Staple all of this together and place it in one spot, rather than scattering it through several files. 




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