Monday, January 9, 2017

Auto-Pay Makes Prepaid Palatable

One of our biggest objections to going Prepaid was the cumbersome payment cycle required by prepaid accounts. You didn't pay the bill once a month like the electric bill, you paid at or near an exact payment date or you lost your account value, and your service if you were one day late.  These types of payments still exist but finally most Prepaid operators now offer some form of "Auto-Pay", or "Auto-Refill", where your monthly payment is automatically deducted from a credit card, debit card or checking account.

The upside with Auto-Pay is it's easier to pay than the electric bill because the payment is made without any hassle.  In most cases you get an Text or email that the charge to your card or checking account is being made, and no action is required on your part. Having an associated account also makes it easy to change features or add-ons to your account.  The downside includes the challenge of stopping Auto-Pay.  Some carriers make you go through a menu of choices before you find a way to cancel.  Additionally, credit cards have expiration dates that can interrupt the Auto-Pay process suddenly finding yourself with no wireless service.

Some carriers are better than others in making Auto-Pay consumer-friendly.  There are carriers that even offer a discount when you sign up.  Most carriers offer both online and app access to your account.  Several will notify you long before there is a problem including an upcoming expiration date. Our advice sometimes includes backing away and allowing for the fact that something will cause your account to be charged a slightly different amount than you expect, and it may cause less trouble to grin and bear it than pressing to get back a few dollars.

Keep in mind that if you choose not to use Auto-Pay, Mountain Prepaid offers Discount Wireless Refills which can be applied automatically or with a PIN, and we offer refills in more denominations than the carriers themselves to better match your Prepaid usage.

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