Workflow for receiving and paying bills?

Hi all,

I am using DTPO as a base for my new paperless life. I am perplexed as to how handle the monthly bills. Previously, monthly bills were reasonably easy: get the bill, file in a “to-pay” bucket, then use online banking to pay the bill. I am contemplating getting bills electronically, filing them in DT, then paying them. The problem is that most companies that produce bills want you to log into their web site and download a PDF. I get a lot of bills, so the prospect of having to navigate 20-30 different web interfaces per month is nauseating. I think I could scan them all faster!

Ideally, I could set up a mail rule that sees a message from the company, fires up a browser, and grabs the PDF. Unfortunately, I don’t see a good way to implement this, and I’m afraid that this extra workload will put the kibosh on any plans to make bill paying easier. Has anyone come up with a successful solution to this? Thanks in advance!

Paul

As I hate paying monthly bills such as utilities either by check or online banking, my own solution is to set them up for payment by automatic withdrawal from my checking account. :slight_smile:

Interesting topic.
I was faced with a similar problem when I went paperless with DTP. I finally found nothing would work.
As I own a software company that has been producing for years a payment application for Mac (unfortunately restricted to Switzerland) we ended up introducing OCR and teaming up with SnapScan directly, bypassing DTP for this particular task.

We now scan the invoices, extract the necessary payment data (which are transmitted as a file to the bank) and store the PDF along in the database. Works great because the payment data act as metadata for the PDF (those data are checksummed so there is no possible OCR error) and we can manipulate the numbers showing you amounts, totals, etc.

Open a Swiss account ! Not politically correct presently, but very useful.

Thanks for the replies! While not surprising, I was hoping that someone would have a solution to this problem. It seems there are two different nuts to be cracked for the bill-paying scenario: input and output.

On the input side, we need to figure out a way to automatically receive monthly bills and invoices. Due to lack of any standard mechanism for obtaining these , it almost seems easier to keep on getting paper and scanning it, rather than continuing to navigate a different web site for every bill.

On the output side, it may be a bit easier. Assuming that bills to be paid can be collected somehow, it seems reasonable that Safari can be scripted to go to my bank’s website and pay the bills from there. It is certainly easier to concentrate on a single web site for output than 15 different ones for input. Not a pretty prospect no matter what…

A bit late to the conversation, but check out FileThis Fetch (filethis.com). For the providers it supports, it will automatically download statements from them and place them in a folder on your computer or in Evernote. Been using them for a few months and can say it’s great!

My credit union offers a bill payment service where I could pay many bills through one web UI. It doesn’t support all of them since it’s an opt-in service for the companies. Maybe your bank or CU has such an option.
(Note: This is FYI as I don’t avail myself of this service for my own reasons.)