[telecom] BillPay Down, Online Banking Customers Crippled, Held Hostage

BillPay Down, Online Banking Customers Crippled, Held Hostage by Matthew Chan

It seems not a single major news media source has written about the very serious and extended outage of the BillPay service provided by major U.S. Banks. Bank customers throughout the U.S. are complaining and being held hostage for nearly two days now. Evidence of this can be seen in Twitter.

This began with my own unhappy experience of not being able to log into my Suntrust BillPay on Monday night around 8pm. I tried a couple more times with no success. On Tuesday morning, there was no error message. Only the inability to log in to my BillPay from my Suntrust Online Banking Account.

As I stayed in my home office working patiently waiting for an opportunity to input some urgent payments in addition to checking on what payments should be coming out tomorrow, I finally called the toll-free number customer service number and was politely informed that BillPay was down since 3pm on Monday afternoon. Tuesday has come and nearly gone. We are headed into Wednesday with no indication when the BillPay service will be available again.

Because there seems to be zero coverage of this extensive and widespread BillPay outage, I took to Twitter to do my own research and write this update. Hopefully, Google will pick this up and disseminate to BillPay victims being held hostage.

It appears many people are blaming their bank for the BillPay problem when in reality the BillPay problem is actually larger than any one ban


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***** Moderator's Note *****

I don't know if "Billpay" is a Paypal service, or something else. I didn't see any mention of the "Billpay" service being down when I looked at the Paypal site.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Monty Solomon
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It has nothing to do with Paypal, it's a kind of service many banks offer in which you can tell them to pay a list of bills and they will do an electronic transfer if they know the recipient's account info, or mail a check otherwise. There are a couple of large providers like Checkfree who do this for a lot of banks.

Paying bills from my account at HSBC who I think do it themselves works, from my community bank doesn't, which suggests that one of the outsourced providers is broken.

On the other hand, they, you know, mail a check. Surely it is not beyond the ability of Americans in 2012 to blow the dust off the checkbook and do it themselves.

R's, John

Reply to
John Levine

Most of the places I spend money will take debit cards or (in the case of utilities) generate an auto-ACH each month. So these services by banks are redundant (and they tend to cost money while the alternatives don't). The only check I still write each month is the rent.

Reply to
John David Galt

Many bill-pay programs are free, but you might have to shop the banks or credit unions a little.

The problem with a payee-initiated auto-ACH is that the payee can "pull" money from your account. That's fine, until there's a computer glitch on their end, or they don't want to let go (or have a back-office "oversight") when you switch to a different vendor and they wind up STILL pulling money from your account. Sure, you'll get it fixed eventually, but those messes can take a lot of time and trouble to straighten out, and in the meantime you might have hit overdraft situations. Ugly, no matter how you cut it.

It's usually far, far better if YOU "push" money out of YOUR account; that way you're in control. And this is true even when you set up a bill pay to do a periodic "push". You still have the ultimate control and can stop a payment whenever it's appropriate.


Reply to
Frank Stearns

Wednesday it was down at Bank of America but Chase Bank's service worked OK.

Wes Leatherock snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com snipped-for-privacy@aol.com

Reply to
Wes Leatherock

:On the other hand, they, you know, mail a check. Surely it is not :beyond the ability of Americans in 2012 to blow the dust off the :checkbook and do it themselves.

Mostly not, actually. Were I to direct my bank to send you money through the bill paying interface, they'd probably mail you a check, but for entities that get lots of payments, like your credit card companies and utilities, get paid with an electronic payment. That's cheaper for both parties, of course, but it's also faster. I can log in to the bank's site, make a few clicks, and get someone money tomorrow (sometimes even the same day.).

If I write a check, I've got to pay for the check, a stamp, and remember to mail it a week before it's due. That's hard.

Reply to
David Scheidt

Of course. If your billpay is handled by CheckFree or whatever they're called these days, and you told them to pay me, they'd pay me by ACH, too, since I told them my bank details.

Nonetheless, come the apocalypse and the billpay stops working permanently, you could mail me a check, and I would walk down to the bank and deposit it.

R's, John

Reply to
John Levine

Sure, we can "dust off" our checkbooks (I'm still required to write only one check a month for my rent check since the entity that I rent from has not evolved into the 21st century) but if you use something to make payments and all of a sudden it doesn't work and as a result of it not working you're going to be assessed late fees or ruin a good payment record you have with an entity. If you can't count on the service working are you saying that we should all abandon banks' e-payment services and regress into sending a cheque (and yes see if you can find a stamp to make payments since that's one of the few times you absolutely need to post something in the mail?)

Reply to
Joseph Singer

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