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How to manage bills and pay on time

Bills & budgeting: How to manage bills and pay on time

If cost of living pressures start to bite, paying bills can be one of the first things to slip.

Most companies are fairly lenient with one-off missed payments. But if it becomes an on-going problem, you’ll soon find your finances – and your stress levels - will take a hit.   

Having a handle on bills, like utilities and credit cards, can save you time, energy and money.

Bills and budgeting

Effective budgeting is crucial. It’s about knowing what money you’ve got coming in and how much you owe. 

Forecasting plays a part in this too. It helps to have an idea when each bill tends to arrive e.g. monthly, quarterly, yearly and how long the biller gives you before it’s due.

Using a budget planner is a great way to determine your incomings and outgoings so you can make sure you’ve got enough in your account to cover every bill. 

It’s also sensible to prepare for the unexpected. Having a buffer to draw upon can be a real life saver. Don’t underestimate how much peace of mind this gives you too.

Making sure you don't miss a payment   

It’s important to make sure you’re managing your bills, rather than them managing you. 

One solution is to get your bills sent straight to NetBank and the CommBank app. 

Choose to do this and you can manage your bills and upcoming payments on a simple timeline. It’s a great way to see, keep track of and pay your bills in one place. And you get reminders just before a bill is due too.

Alternatively, you could create your own spreadsheet showing incoming and outgoing payments then manually track when your bills arrive and when they need paying.

Once you’ve got a system in place, there are a variety of ways to pay:

  • Schedule a bill to be paid automatically with credit card AutoPay and BPAY View AutoPay. With credit card AutoPay you can either pay the full closing balance (no limit), make a minimum payment or pay a set an amount of your choice. With BPAY View AutoPay you set a payment limit and as long as a bill falls inside that limit, it’s automatically deducted from your chosen account. If your limit won’t cover a particular bill we’ll give you a heads up so you know to pay that bill yourself
  • Set up a direct debit so a biller deducts a payment directly from your chosen account often at regular intervals
  • Make a transfer from NetBank and the CommBank app to the biller
  • Pay using BPAY either straight away or as a scheduled payment deducted at a later date. If you’re using BPAY in NetBank or the CommBank app, you can add a biller to your address book so it’s quicker to pay a biller next time.

You can also use Photo-a-bill in the app if you’re choosing to pay a bill using BPAY (only available on Apple iPhone 5 and above)

Knowing when a payment is due means you avoid getting stung by late fees. You can set alerts or reminders in NetBank and the CommBank app so you’re warned before a bill is due. 

It’s important to pay on time

Late fees are the most common consequence of not paying bills on time. Procrastination and a lack of organisation can really hurt your wallet.

If you’re late making a credit card repayment for example, it’s also worth remembering that interest is charged from the date your purchases were made not just the days it was late by - you’ll be hit with a late fee too. Paying the total amount owing on your current statement by the due date means you don’t get charged interest on purchases you’ve made during the statement period.

Staying on top of bill payments is also important to your credit score. Repeatedly failing to pay your bills on time can have a negative impact on your overall rating.

That may not matter to you now, but it’s one of the things lenders look at before deciding whether or not to give you credit or a loan. If you can’t pay your bills, how can you be relied upon to pay off a loan?

Getting help

If you’re doing it tough tell someone and get help. It’s not always easy to share your financial troubles, but no one wants to you fall into unmanageable debt.

Some utilities, for example, offer ‘bill smoothing’ where you make fortnightly or monthly payments instead of having to pay the bill in one go.  

You can also chat to our Financial Assistance Solutions Team if you’re struggling to make CommBank credit card, overdraft or loan repayments. They’ll work with you to find a solution which alleviates the pressure, in a way that works best for you.



This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.