Online Account Access and Online Bill Payment Defined - dummies

Online Account Access and Online Bill Payment Defined

By Stephen L. Nelson

You may think that doing so sounds scary, but Online Account Access and Online Bill Payment in Quicken 2012 provide some very neat benefits. Online services means that you can connect your computer to your bank’s computer electronically through your Internet connection.

  • With Online Bill Payment, you can tell your bank or (in a pinch) the Intuit online financial services unit to make payments to specific individuals or businesses.

    In other words, rather than providing all this information in the usual way (on checks), you send the same information — the payees’ names, their addresses, the amounts, and so on — and then the bank writes the checks.

    You can tell the bank to make automatic recurring payments for bills that you pay on a regular basis, such as a rent or mortgage payment. You can use Online Bill Payment at any bank.

  • With Online Account Access, you can get transaction information — such as information about which checks and deposits cleared your account and what bank service fees you’ve been charged — from the bank’s computer.

    You can also transfer money between accounts — such as from your savings account to your checking account and from your checking account to your credit card account (to pay a credit card bill). To use Quicken for Online Account Access, your bank must support the Quicken Online Account Access service.

Neither Online Account Access nor Online Bill Payment is difficult to use. And despite the nightmares that people with delusional paranoia may develop about electronic banking, the service is safe, secure, and very solid. Nevertheless, before you, too, jump onto the Online Account Access and Online Bill Payment bandwagon, you should probably consider a few points:

  • If you want to use the Online Account Access feature, your bank must be a part of the Quicken Online Account Access program.

  • To sign up for and use Online Account Access or Online Bill Payment services, you need an Internet connection.

  • You should be fairly comfortable with Quicken, especially with account transactions and transferring money between accounts. (Therefore, if you’re new to Quicken, you should at least record a handful of checks, make some deposits, and reconcile your account before venturing into Online Account Access. This ramping up of your Quicken skills should take about two weeks.)

  • Make sure that your records are completely up to date and reconciled with the last statements you received from the bank.