By Cary P. Yates From the Houston Forward Times
The end of the year can be extremely stressful for many people. The holidays can be a great time to gather and reconnect with friends and family. But with these celebrations come additional expenses not seen at other times during the year. Decorations, gifts, clothing, food and beverages and travel expenses always seem to stretch the personal or family budget a bit further than usual. Although it’s a time for celebration, there always seems to be that nagging question, “How am I going to pay for all of this?” lingering in the background.
A recent Wells Fargo survey conducted by Harris Interactive shed some light on consumer frustrations related to managing and paying bills. Not surprisingly, 68 percent of the 2,000 Americans surveyed indicated that they found the process of paying bills stressful. While it may be no surprise the most common concern for people is having enough money to meet their obligations – just more than half voiced this as their No. 1 concern – the findings beyond that may be more relevant to busy and exhausted holiday revelers.
Just below their concerns over having the ability to pay their bills, consumers are worried about staying organized and keeping track of all of their bills and when they’re due. Of the respondents surveyed, 46 percent cited different due dates as the main reason bill paying was stressful, while 30 percent said their biggest concern was forgetting when bills were due.
Trying to keep track of rent or house payments, credit card statements, utility bills is hard enough throughout the year. When you add the seasonal social and financial obligations onto the calendar – the office gathering, the dinner parties and family get-togethers – it can be a bit overwhelming to keep track of where you and your money need to be on any given date. Since dings on your credit report due to missed payments can impact your ability to get a mortgage, a car or even certain jobs, staying on top of your bills during the holidays can significantly impact your long-term financial success.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can help ease the stress of bill paying so you can relax and enjoy your holidays a bit more.
Paying Bills Online
Many banks – including Wells Fargo – offer online banking to their customers. By logging into a secure site, customers can check account balances, monitor withdrawals and deposits, and move money between accounts as needed. Online Bill Pay takes Internet banking to the next level. With the same login and password, customers can pay virtually all their bills in one place. You can see all of your bills in one place, set reminders to receive an alert a few days before a bill is due, or even completely automate payments to come directly out of your account on their due date. At Wells Fargo, Online Bill Pay is free for customers with an eligible checking account, and reduces the need to log in to multiple websites to pay bills.
Mobile Banking on Your Tablet
While opening an Internet browser is still the way most consumers get online to get banking done, more consumers are turning to tablet computing and using customized applications for work, play, and even banking. Wells Fargo has developed an app experience for a variety of tablet users, including the iPad. It’s now easier and faster for customers to stay on top of their finances and move money on the go. In addition to the Bill Pay services that are available within these apps, you can use enhanced services to transfer money to individuals as well. With Wells Fargo SurePay, it’s easy to send your roommate your half of the monthly rent, or transfer money to your college student so they’ve got gas money to make it home for the holidays.
The holidays can be hectic enough. Eliminate some of the hassle by exploring ways you can simplify your monthly bills. In about an hour, you can set yourself up for a more enjoyable holiday season. That’s a gift that keeps on giving the whole year.
For more information on online banking and bill pay, visit www.wellsfargo.com or come in and talk to a banker. For tablet based solutions, search your tablet’s app store for “Wells Fargo.”