We had a brief moment of panic about our mortgage statement while we were unpacking. It had arrived a few days before we moved and got put with a pile of papers, but then we couldn’t find it in the pile after we moved. I unearthed the payment instructions and payment website from the loan documents, after which we found the statement. The bank offered us an array of payment options to ensure we didn’t miss a payment, and we also took precautions to ensure that we’re never late.
Automated Payments through Your Mortgage Servicer
The first option we set up was automatic payments. The mortgage account site let us create an automatic debit from our checking account. All we needed was our bank tracking info, which is found on the bottom of your checks. We arranged to have our checking account automatically debited on the 1st of every month. We also do this with our student loans. This way we never have to worry about a late payment.
One-Time Online Payments through Your Mortgage Servicer
When we set up the automated payments, it didn’t kick in until October 1. We set up a one-time payment for September 1 through the same site to make sure this month was paid on time. We had to enter our checking account information again, but the payment went through. Because we had the servicer debit our checking on the 1st, it considered the bill paid on time even though our bank didn’t process the payment until the 2nd.
With online banking, you usually have two options – scheduled recurring payments or one-time payments. As a back-up, I set up our mortgage in our online banking account so we can click a few buttons to make a payment from our checking account if something goes wrong with the mortgage servicer. I didn’t set-up any payments, though. Don’t want to get double-billed!
Accelerated Payment Services
I don’t recommend using a service to accelerate payments. We received an offer in the mail to do this, but it wasn’t through our bank. We shredded the info. We also had the option to do this through our online mortgage interface, but for right now we’re doing regular monthly payments. If we ever do accelerate, I won’t pay the bank’s fee to accelerate either. I’ll simply send them an extra payment through online banking.
Mail a Check
You can still pay your mortgage the old-fashioned way by mailing them a check. Given the vagaries of the US postal system, this would be my last option for paying this bill. I’d call the bank to pay by phone before I mailed a check, but if online banking fails you, make sure you send the payment at least seven days before it’s due.
Balancing Your Mortgage with Other Bills
If you’re like us, you probably have a slew of bills due on the 1st. What would happen if one of your paychecks was late? What if your direct deposit got screwed up? We actually receive one of our paychecks at the end of the month, and one a few days into the month. Although we have a large enough cash cushion in our checking account to cover a delayed paycheck, we also took the precaution of staggering our bills. I simply called our primary credit card company and asked them to move our bill due date to after my husband’s pay date. We’ve always paid on time, so they were more than happy to push it back a few days. They didn’t even charge us interest for the extra few days of grace that first month.
Plan Your Cash Flow
As a last tip, make sure you budget your cash flow around all of your bills, including the mortgage. That way you’ll know if you need to shuffle money into your checking account to cover the mortgage payment before you receive an insufficient funds notice.
With all the moving hubbub, I was very worried we’d accidentally pay late. Fortunately, we found the payment site and account number in time, and had the cash on hand to pay the bill without trouble. If you want to maintain good credit and avoid fees, make sure you pay your mortgage on time every month. The banks make it so easy, so let them help you out with this.