My four utility bills (electricity, gas, water, cable/internet) come at four different times of the month. My paycheck comes every two weeks. Careful budgeting and frugality have made it possible for payments to be made on time and late fees to be avoided, but as a college student with limited income and seemingly limitless costs for education and living, there are often stretches when groceries come second to heat.
Utilities for my apartment are split between the other tenants and myself. Dividing bills between the four of us is pretty common in many collegiate living situations, but it still isn’t much help when all of the bills seems to come in those spaces between paychecks and at times just after a hefty rent check has been written.
There must be a simpler way; a means that bill paying can be streamlined.
My idea is this: a third party company pays the balance of the utility’s bill each month electronically as the statements become available. The customer makes one large payment to the third party each month in the amount of the utilities in total. The third party charges a percentage fee each month for the total cost of the utilities.
Other services offered by the third party could include notifications when bills are higher than usual, changes in pricing or services reported by the utility provider and trend analysis to compare month-by-month, year-by-year and national averages. It could also offer an estimated total cost based on how much the already available totals are.
There is possibility that this could already be done to a degree by using a credit card that is set up for Auto-Pay to the utility accounts. Then, the customer need only pay the balance of the credit card statement each month.
But there are some companies that don’t accept credit card payments and would still require the customer to mail a check or use a bank routing and account number.
A system similar to this is currently used for individuals with high debt levels. A third party buys the debt and consolidates it into one payment for the customer with an agreed upon interest rate for services rendered.
If there was ever a chance that I would be able to start something like this, I would. But there are men and women smarter than I who could better provide this service.
I’m guessing most of them work for Google.