Being able to pay our bills online is changing the way that the world takes care of their finances. This brings to mind an old episode of the show “Rosanne” where the show’s namesake and her husband Dan, as portrayed by John Goodman, were trying to figure out just how they would be able to pay their bills. They ended up devising a plan where they put all of their bills on a lazy Susan in the middle of their kitchen table and spun it. The last bill to stay on it was the one they decided to pay. The other two, as far as their plotting was concerned, would be sent to the wrong company, so the electric company would get the water bill payment and vice versa.
As humorous as the scene was at the time, it, like much of the events on the show, struck a chord with much of America in that paying bills can be a stressful time of the month. However, with the advent of online bill payment, it is much more difficult these days to send your payment to the wrong company like the characters from the show.
Nevertheless, I would still argue that the ability to make payments online is beneficial no matter your current financial circumstances. The reality of the situation that occurred on that episode so many decades ago is that the two bills that were sent to the wrong companies would still end up earning a late fee, mistake or not. Especially through the eighties, companies were stringent when it came to their billing rules and late fees were the norm for many families across the country.
In what is likely a surprise to many, taking bill payment online has brought forth something else that no one seemed to really expect – better customer service and leniency from nearly every utility and Credit Company. It has never been easier to call a debtor or service provider and request an extension or forgiveness on a late fee, and that means we will no longer have to collectively toss our bills on lazy Susans, so to speak, and pick and choose what can get paid when funds are low.
This is by no means attempting to say that you can skip paying bills left and right, but in times of monetary duress, these small extensions and fee forgiveness can be a breath of fresh air that just wasn’t available in previous decades.