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Billmatrix Fees for Utility Payments

For the second month in a row I have been charged an additional $1.85 on top of the payment amount I have sent via QuickPay to my utility company. I have read that the new Quicken Bill Manger uses the biller's online payment system, however there is no indication that a fee will be charged when setting up and sending my payment. Yet they are able to obtain additional money above and beyond the payment amount from my bank account to cover their fee. I have been paying my utility company through Quicken for years and have never encountered this additional fee until now with the new Bill Manager. Has anyone else seen this? How do I avoid being charged this additional fee, short of hand writing a check every month?
Thanks, Ria

Answers

  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    I assume what you were using before was Quicken Bill Pay. Note if you were using Quicken through Direct Connect to your financial institution, and changed to Quicken Bill Manager you should switch back, it is the much better system.

    Quicken Bill Pay worked by making a ACH transfer from your checking/credit card account to the "biller".  Since this doesn't involve the biller's payment system there isn't any charge.

    Quicken Bill Manager works by accessing your account on the biller's website and setting up the payment.  Some billers charge for this service as you have found out.

    If you log into your biller's website and look at their requirements are for paying a bill by transferring the money from your checking/credit card account you should see that they are charging a fee for it.  Or actually more likely they are charging a fee for using a credit card.  There are a lot of utilities that will charge you for using a credit card because they are charged a fee (usually 2%) by the credit card company.  And they will usually not charge if the transfer is from a checking account.  You need to look at it there and see what their fees are.

    The implies (but not confirmed, since I'm not using Quicken Bill Manager) it might depend on what funding account you are using (maybe not).

    As for what you can do to pay the bills without sending a check.  If the funding account isn't the solution then other possible ideas are.

    Stop using Quicken Bill Manager and instead:

    Go to each biller website and setup automatic payments from there.  That way you will know the details of if there are fees and such and can decide on a one to one basis of which to pay with a credit card and which with a checking account. This what I have been doing for over 20 years and it has worked great for me.  Most are paid by a cash back credit card.  So for the most part I just have to make sure I have enough in my checking account when the bills come in and for the credit card I get at least 20 days of notice.  Then I just setup reminder for these few payments.

    Find a financial institution that does support Direct Connect through Quicken to their bill payment system and switch to them.  Internal to Quicken this looks very much like the old Quicken Bill Pay, but it is better because it is only Quicken talking to your financial institution.

    The last way is to just use your financial institution's website payment system.  You will have to "double record", as in the real payment is at that website and you put in a reminder in Quicken for the payment transaction in Quicken.
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    BTW I have heard lots of people state that they would never setup automatic payments through their billers.  They don't trust it.  I personally have never had a problem, but I get it.  But it is ironic that these same people will sign up for Quicken Bill Manager, which is nothing more than an "automated" way of doing the same thing!
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  • jrich75
    jrich75 Member ✭✭✭✭
    Billmatrix charges the fee, not Quicken.  It is a fee to use the their online bill payment service which, as you said, is how QuickPay makes payments.  If you went to the Billmatrix web site for your utility and made the same type of payment, you would be charged the fee.  This is very typical for utility companies. When I tried to pay my electric company using QuickPay, I did get a notice that $2.50 would be added if completed the payment request.  I'm surprised you didn't recieve something similar.
    Quicken user since 1995
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  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    Just as in example here is for PG&E (their website):

    Checking account, no fee.

    Credit card (up to $1.35), and I see there is even a limit, very big one, but a limit:

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  • rwaugh
    rwaugh Member ✭✭
    Thanks for your helpful response Chris_QPW.

    Yes, you are correct I was previously using Quicken Bill Pay and had no idea we still had an option, like you suggested, to use Direct Connect through Quicken and not use Bill Manager. I've had issues with Bill Manager not working with some of my other payees, such as Capital One Credit Cards, so I would be delighted to figure out a way around Bill Manager. I assume that since my bank worked with the previous Quicken Bill Pay, then it should support Direct Connect. I do like to take care of everything from one place in Quicken rather than going out to the biller's website or out to my banks bill pay system.
    BTW - I did verify on the utilities companies website that they apparently charge the fee for both credit/debit card payments as well as ACH transfers from a checking account, which makes sense why the fee was was applied when funding the payment from my checking account. Makes sense, but certainly doesn't seem fair since they aren't being hit with credit card merchant fees, but thats an topic for another day ;-)

    > @Chris_QPW said:
    > I assume what you were using before was Quicken Bill Pay. Note if you were using Quicken through Direct Connect to your financial institution, and changed to Quicken Bill Manager you should switch back, it is the much better system.
    >
    > Quicken Bill Pay worked by making a ACH transfer from your checking/credit card account to the "biller".  Since this doesn't involve the biller's payment system there isn't any charge.
    >
    > Quicken Bill Manager works by accessing your account on the biller's website and setting up the payment.  Some billers charge for this service as you have found out.
    >
    > If you log into your biller's website and look at their requirements are for paying a bill by transferring the money from your checking/credit card account you should see that they are charging a fee for it.  Or actually more likely they are charging a fee for using a credit card.  There are a lot of utilities that will charge you for using a credit card because they are charged a fee (usually 2%) by the credit card company.  And they will usually not charge if the transfer is from a checking account.  You need to look at it there and see what their fees are.
    >
    > The implies (but not confirmed, since I'm not using Quicken Bill Manager) it might depend on what funding account you are using (maybe not).
    >
    > As for what you can do to pay the bills without sending a check.  If the funding account isn't the solution then other possible ideas are.
    >
    > Stop using Quicken Bill Manager and instead:
    >
    > Go to each biller website and setup automatic payments from there.  That way you will know the details of if there are fees and such and can decide on a one to one basis of which to pay with a credit card and which with a checking account. This what I have been doing for over 20 years and it has worked great for me.  Most are paid by a cash back credit card.  So for the most part I just have to make sure I have enough in my checking account when the bills come in and for the credit card I get at least 20 days of notice.  Then I just setup reminder for these few payments.
    >
    > Find a financial institution that does support Direct Connect through Quicken to their bill payment system and switch to them.  Internal to Quicken this looks very much like the old Quicken Bill Pay, but it is better because it is only Quicken talking to your financial institution.
    >
    > The last way is to just use your financial institution's website payment system.  You will have to "double record", as in the real payment is at that website and you put in a reminder in Quicken for the payment transaction in Quicken.
  • rwaugh
    rwaugh Member ✭✭
    Thanks for your response jrich75.

    Oddly, I did not get the same notice and I was specifically looking for it the second time around. The first time my payment was made same day or next day so I assumed when I got the fee it was for the lack of lead time, but the second payment was done with weeks of lead time and well before the payment was even due.
    Ria


    > @jrich75 said:
    > Billmatrix charges the fee, not Quicken.  It is a fee to use the their online bill payment service which, as you said, is how QuickPay makes payments.  If you went to the Billmatrix web site for your utility and made the same type of payment, you would be charged the fee.  This is very typical for utility companies. When I tried to pay my electric company using QuickPay, I did get a notice that $2.50 would be added if completed the payment request.  I'm surprised you didn't recieve something similar.
  • rwaugh
    rwaugh Member ✭✭
    I don't think Quicken Bill Manager has made that association very clear. Also ironic is how you can authorize a payment for a certain amount, but the biller can just access your bank account for a little bit more to to cover their fees. That concerns me more.
    Ria

    > @Chris_QPW said:
    > BTW I have heard lots of people state that they would never setup automatic payments through their billers.  They don't trust it.  I personally have never had a problem, but I get it.  But it is ironic that these same people will sign up for Quicken Bill Manager, which is nothing more than an "automated" way of doing the same thing!
  • Chris_QPW
    Chris_QPW Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2020
    rwaugh said:
    Thanks for your helpful response Chris_QPW.

    Yes, you are correct I was previously using Quicken Bill Pay and had no idea we still had an option, like you suggested, to use Direct Connect through Quicken and not use Bill Manager. I've had issues with Bill Manager not working with some of my other payees, such as Capital One Credit Cards, so I would be delighted to figure out a way around Bill Manager. I assume that since my bank worked with the previous Quicken Bill Pay, then it should support Direct Connect. 
    That isn't correct.  In fact it is one of the main reasons Quicken Bill Pay was created.

    To support paying your bills through Direct Connect through your financial institution, the first requirement is that you used Direct Connect connection method, and not all financial institutions support it.  And then on top of that they have to support paying bills through it, and they might charge a fee for this too.

    Quicken Bill Pay didn't care what the connection type of the account was.

    Bill pay through Direct Connect:
    Quicken <-> your financial institution (EDIT uses their bill pay system)

    Quicken Bill pay
    Quicken <-> to third party service > allowed to make ACH transfers from your financial institution's checking account.  They would either send an ACH transfer from your account directly to the biller or if that wasn't possible transfer the money to their account and send out a check.
    Which Banks Are Supported in the latest Release of Quicken?
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