There's a big push on for all payments to done electronically. Convenient for everyone, right? No writing checks and dropping envelops in the mail. Heaven forbid actually paying a bill in person with cash.
Combined with electronic deposit of your paycheck, it's easy. Money comes in, money goes out. There's no need to think about it. It's all done automatically.
What could go wrong?
Of course, if the Internet is closed down, like in Egypt, how are those bills getting paid? My guess is that electronic payments in Egypt aren't as common as in other countries. How would that affect countries where automatic payments are the norm?
Okay, it's an extreme scenario. (or is it?). I tried to access my bank account on-line to check my balance. The web site was down. What to do? Years ago I used to check my balance by phone. Digging around in my wallet, I found the old phone number to access the bank account. Sure enough, the phone system was still in operation. It took two tries, but I eventually remembered the pin number and was able to get the info needed.
Some things I do pay automatically: my house mortgage, Netflix account, and the Vonage phone bill. What those things have in common is that they are monthly bills that don't vary. Bills that change very month, like the electric bill, are paid by check. There's a couple reasons for that. I can't budget for a bill I don't know exactly how much it'll be. Another reason is that it's easier to contest a bill that hasn't been paid. Once they get your money they never give it back. With a tight budget, sometimes not everyone gets paid. If I have to delay an electric bill to pay my property taxes on time, so be it.
When a bill comes in the mail, it's studied more closely. Writing a paper check keeps me aware exactly how much something costs. That's one more opportunity to reflect on if that's a bill I want to keep or not. Maybe it's a service that can be eliminated.
At one time I was such a Luddite that my paychecks came by mail. That was just stupid. The paper check comes a couple days later. Then I had to drive into town to deposit it. What was I thinking? Now it's not even possible to get paid by check. It's all electronic.
As you can see, I'm not totally against automated electronic payments, but I pick and choose. Limit who's hands have access to your electric wallet.
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