Progression into the Age of Digital

Utility bills, bank statements and credit cards have been transitioning to paperless for several years.  Most utilities, credit providers and banks now have online access to your accounts to facilitate viewing statements and paying balances.  This transition was helpful as I was able to make a spreadsheet and keep track of dates and amounts (and URLs), make a monthly check to verify everything was up-to-date and pay bills online via bank account/credit card (I am not a fan of auto-pay).

Many banks have also started offering the option of providing Bill Pay as a free service- making it even easier to pay all bills from one location.  The options I have seen are adequate, but some can be difficult to setup (Have you seen how many PO boxes and zip codes most Credit Card companies have for payment centers?). Moreover, some recent web bases services provide a more comprehensive overview of finances and/or bills that allow for easier payments and some basic financial planning that the banks do not offer.

Mint is a free program that can ties into banks, credit providers and other financial institutions to provide a centralized  source to view all of your finances- as well as create budgets and create graphs to see where your money goes.  Mint does not have any tie-ins into utility, cellular or many other reoccurring bill providers.  Mint aggregates all of you individual website logins into a singe page.

Manilla is another free service that fills in some of the missing parts of Mint.  Manilla uses a similar aggregation to Mint, but it focuses on utility and phone bills in addition to banks and credit providers.  The web site can present a month view calendar with upcoming bills and provide an automated login to the bill provider’s website.  Manilla does not appear to facilitate the actual payment transaction, rather it is more of a monitoring and alerting system.  One thing I like about Manilla is that it downloads PDF copies of the bills/statements and stores them in a ‘documents’ folder- and if you have ever tried to find the actual PDF copy of your bill on AT&T’s website, you will appreciate what this means.  ;)

Additionally, both Mint and Manilla have Android and iOS apps.

I look forward to the day when there is a combined service that offers the analytics of Mint, the wide service range of Manilla and a true bill-pay system that can transfer funds between banks/credit cards/utility providers- perhaps even tracking income and taxes for the yearly federal and state filings.  :)