You have three ways to record online payments in Quicken 2012. If you’re comfortable using the Write Checks window, you write a check in the usual way. You enter the payee name, an amount, probably a category, and so on. Just make sure that you select the Online Payment check box. The Online Payment check box appears in the lower-right corner of the on-screen check form.

If you’re more comfortable using the register to record payments, you can make online payments with that, too. In the Num column, just specify the payment number as Send.

By the way, the first time you make an online payment to someone, Quicken asks for some information in the Set Up Online Payee dialog box: where the person lives or where the business is located, and what account number Quicken can use to identify the person or business.

You can also describe online payees by choosing Tools→Online Payee List, which displays a list of online payees. Then click the New button, which displays the Set Up Online Payee dialog box.

After you record a payment, you send it to the bank. To do so, choose the Tools→One Step Update command.

Quicken connects, through the Internet, to your bank’s computer. As part of making this connection, you need to provide a PIN. When Quicken finishes sending your payment instructions to your bank, it displays a summary that basically says you’ve connected to the bank’s computer and sent it some payment instructions. At this point, you’re done.

Note: The first time that you use Online Account Access, Quicken asks you to change your PIN.

Note: You can have Quicken regularly update your account information. To do this, choose the Tools→Schedule Updates command and follow the on-screen instructions.

You must send your payment instructions to the bank several days in advance of the time the bill needs to be paid. For obvious reasons, the bank needs a day or two to process the bill. And then the check probably has to go through the U.S. Postal Service.