The Best Bill Paying Services for Seniors
What You Need to Know About Money Management Services for Seniors
- Older adult often have a lifetime of financial savings they plan to enjoy in retirement, but managing one’s bills and finances can become difficult with age and as expenses for things like senior living and in-home aides increase.
- In addition to facing financial penalties for missing payments, seniors are also often targeted by financial scammers.
- Bill management services help seniors both stay on top of their bills and finances and helps prevent them from unknowingly being defrauded by financial scammers.
- Most bill management services charge fees ranging from $10-$99 per month, or charge hourly, which may be out-of-reach for some seniors.
- There are free and low-cost services and tools available such as the Mint and YNAB mobile apps, HomeBank online program, and counseling services to help seniors manage their finances.
With roughly 90% of adults age 65 or older reporting the desire to age in place in their own homes, it’s clear that today’s seniors value living independently and comfortably as they approach their later years. However, living independently can become a burden when everyday responsibilities mix with the natural difficulties of aging.
One of the heaviest loads to bear is keeping up with the ongoing cycle of paying bills. They are often forgotten and go unpaid, resulting in headache-inducing late fees and even home eviction in extreme cases. Sadly, fraud is also a serious issue that affects many seniors. Over the past 7 years, there has been an increase of $1.4 billion dollars lost to elder financial exploitation.
To avoid these hardships, many seniors turn to outside help for managing their daily finances. While there are many resources available, most tools are technology-based and can be overwhelming for some older adults to learn. That‘s why bill management services are a great solution. These companies offer one-on-one, trustworthy assistance managing one’s finances so that seniors can maintain an independent lifestyle and focus on the things that matter most to them in their later years. In this guide, we highlight the best bill management companies for seniors and provide tips to help you choose the right service for you or your loved one.
What Is a Bill Paying Service?
Bill management services are designed to alleviate the burden of keeping up with ongoing bills for senior adults and their loved ones, those with disabilities, and busy professionals. In a world where we use financial services to prepare our yearly taxes and create retirement investment plans, it makes sense to turn everyday bill payments over to professionals as well. Seniors seeking this service are often overwhelmed with the sheer volume of bills stacking up, especially as medical issues arise and result in frequent doctor visits.
Caregivers and family members of seniors sometimes take on bill management responsibility to reduce stress for their loved ones and ensure that bills are paid on time. However, challenges arise for out-of-town family and busy adults who simply do not have the bandwidth to help. Bill management services support family members and caregivers by providing peace of mind that their loved one’s bills are taken care of.
How Bill Management Services Work
Most bill management companies pair up each client with a dedicated account manager to oversee payments and serve as the main point of contact. Once introduced, the manager initiates an onboarding process that involves redirecting paper and electronic bills directly into their possession moving forward. All kinds of bills are accepted – from recurring cell phone bills and mortgage payments to one-time medical and home repair bills. Once received, the bills are reviewed, stored and paid on time via the client’s preferred payment methods. Regular meetings are held via phone, video or in-person to review monthly expense tracking reports, budgets and any questions that arise. Account managers also assist with additional tasks like mail management, tax document organization and filing insurance claims.
Privacy and Security When Using a Bill Management Service
Trust is a major pillar of bill management, so strong privacy and security measures are at the foundation of these services. Companies vow not to release any personal identifying information to unauthorized third parties, and while vendors are granted permission to debit their payments, they cannot see any account information. Managers are required to complete background checks, and companies maintain several layers of insurance to compensate clients in the event of a problem. Account data protection is taken seriously, with bank-level security measures used to safeguard all personal information on private networks with built-in firewalls.
In addition to safeguarding against fraud and data leaks internally, bill management companies also regularly monitor clients’ accounts for suspicious activity. Seniors’ susceptibility to financial scams leaves them vulnerable to instances of fraud that go undetected until it’s too late. Through regular audits and monitoring services, account managers swiftly notify clients when abnormal charges show up so that the situation can be rectified immediately.
The 4 Best Bill Paying Services for Seniors
The following companies are our top four picks for the best bill management services. Each one has built a foundation of trust with its clients over the span of many years. Through excellent and secure services, seniors and caregivers alike trust their daily money management to these companies.
With 7 years of proven experience, SilverBills has risen to the top of the bill management service industry through its trusted reputation. CEO and founder Marci Lobel-Esrig started the company after recognizing her elderly relative’s challenges with paying bills on time and correctly. Although the business has expanded to include service for individuals of all ages, senior adults are still at the core of its mission to “help clients age with dignity by managing bills securely.” Dedicated account managers handle everything from receiving and organizing bills, to checking for inconsistencies and making sure that payments are always made on time. SilverBills goes the extra mile to ensure transparency throughout each step of service, which helps clients feel confident and safe.
Services Provided by SilverBills
SilverBills handles all types of bills — big, small, recurring and one-time. During service enrollment, clients provide their dedicated account manager with one sample of each bill that they would like the company to manage. Moving forward, the account manager receives all recurring bills directly from the vendor. More bills can always be added in the future. Below, we’ve highlighted the basic services you can expect with SilverBills.
- Pair clients with a U.S. based, professionally trained account manager as main point of contact to securely manage bills
- Ensure that all bills are received, reviewed, stored and paid on time and correctly
- Provide monthly statement showing budgeted spend vs. actual spend and date, amount and manner of each payment
- Compare new charges to previous charges and contact client if any charge seems problematic
- Offer option to send monthly statement and bill copies through secure online portal or via mail
Pros and Cons of SilverBills Bill Management Services
- Seniors not required to use computer for service -- communication can be entirely via phone
- Insured without any claims since company started in 2014
- Leading fraud detection and artificial intelligence monitoring tools
- Leadership team made up of seasoned legal and financial professionals with decades of experience
- Wide monthly cost range listed on website and no explanation of how cost is calculated
With Everyday Money Management, clients can trust that they are receiving trustworthy and expert services. As active members of the American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM), the company prides itself on upholding the AADMM Code of Ethics in all client interactions. Everyday Money Management focuses on providing financial services for senior citizens and those coping with serious medical conditions. It aims to ease the burdens of caretakers by often working directly with families to ensure seniors’ financial security, while reducing stress for relatives. Daily Money Managers handle a variety of tasks, including bill paying, budgeting, expense tracking and account monitoring.
Services Provided by Everyday Money Management
Everyday Money Management’s team of Daily Money Managers bring a diverse range of professional experience to their clients, with backgrounds in business, law, accounting, nonprofit management and communications. The company’s primary services include:
- Complete five-step service for all clients: free consultation, pair up with Daily Money Manager, financial review and recommendations, create improved financial systems and monitor for accuracy and safety
- Pay incoming bills and monitor statements to prevent fraud
- Act as an advocate for seniors by communicating with local care managers, insurance representatives, accountants and other professionals
- Offer in-home and virtual (phone or email) services that are tailored to each client
- Provide extras in addition to bill management like financial reporting, mail management, tax organization, insurance claims management and file organization
Pros and Cons of Everyday Money Management Billl Management Services
- Each Daily Money Manager is certified by the American Association of Daily Money Managers and held accountable to the AADMM Board of Standards
- 15 years in business
- Ongoing, monthly background checks for all employees through Global Investigative Services
- Offers unique “Whole Life List” service, which documents all aspects of client’s financial life in one place in case of medical incapacitation or other critical situations
- Hourly fee and travel fee are not listed on website
- In-person services only available in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC and the Berkshires (specific cities in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York)
Specializing in serving high net worth individuals, Plumb Bill Pay offers a modern, technology-forward expense management solution for busy professionals, senior adults and travelers. Plumb also frequently works with adult children who are seeking help with overseeing their aging or disabled parents’ bills. Unlike other companies featured on our list, Plumb assigns a full bill pay team of accountants to each individual, with a main Client Relationship Manager to oversee the process. This dedicated bill pay team goes beyond standard service by offering to work with each client’s wealth managers, bankers, financial planners and CPAs to provide important expense tracking and reports.
There is also a one-time setup fee.
Services Provided by Plumb Bill Pay
Plumb Bill Pay offers a more comprehensive list of standard services than our other featured companies, including Power of Attorney signature services and a commitment to providing supporting documents to a CPA or advisor for taxable deductions. See below for a list of Plumb’s core bill pay services.
- Oversee all monthly personal expenses, initiate payments and reconcile accounts
- Provide clients with opportunity to view individualized payment schedule, issue approvals and receive reports anytime through secure online platform
- Offer either a weekly or monthly cash flow report to better manage and track expenses
- Review bank and credit card statements for accuracy
- Manage mail reception, processing and forwarding
Pros and Cons of Plumb Bill Pay Bill Management Services
- Securely log into Plumb’s bill pay platform from any location via the web to track updates in real-time
- Customizable, robust expense reports
- Confidential information is encrypted and stored in a data center with multiple levels of security
- Fully insured for cyber and crime security and all employees required to pass a background check
- All services are offered remotely, so it may not be a good solution for seniors desiring in-person assistance
- Some seniors may not be comfortable with Plumb Bill Pay’s technology-driven service model
More than just a bill management company, Care is There offers a full scope of services for seniors. The company runs on a three-fold service model: geriatric care management, bill pay management, and courses geared toward helping caregivers. Lifestyle coordinators accompany seniors to their doctor appointments, run errands and provide regular in-person visits to check on their wellbeing. This high level of personalized care also carries over into the company’s bill management service. Daily Money Managers take a consultative approach by listening to the needs of both family and elderly loved ones. Together, they brainstorm ways to meet those needs and create a custom plan for streamlining the bill pay process.
Services Provided by Care Is There
Care is There provides bill management services to clients in-person throughout central Virginia and Overland Park, Kansas. Depending on the circumstances, the company may also offer remote service for seniors outside of those designated areas. Daily Money Managers work alongside clients to design custom bill management plans that support seniors’ independence. Key services include:
- Pay bills correctly and on time
- Manage mail and correspondence
- Organize tax documents
- File insurance claims
- Set up safe and appropriate banking arrangements
- Help with daily budgeting
- File and organize paperwork
- Minimize the chance of fraud
Pros and Cons of Care Is There Bill Management Services
- Since the company offers a wide range of senior care management services, employees have an acute understanding of seniors’ needs and how to best support them
- Daily Money Managers keep caretakers and family members well informed with regular updates through a private web portal
- Offers free consultation to help decide if bill management services are the right solution for you or your loved one
- Clients build their own bill management package by only choosing services they need and paying by the hour
- Only one Daily Money Manager staff member listed on website
Why Seniors Should Use a Bill Paying Service
Adults have a never-ending list of daily responsibilities: cooking, cleaning, running errands and of course, paying bills. As we age, it becomes more difficult to do these tasks effectively. When you add in the onset of mental impairments such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it’s easy to overlook the stack of bills piling up on the table. This can lead to unpaid essential bills, missed false charges, and more issues.
Bill management services help you take back control of your finances and gain peace of mind in return. Below are four reasons why you should consider using this service.
- Prevent Fraud: Because bill management services place an emphasis on daily account monitoring, the likelihood of a serious financial exploitation situation is very low. Seniors who manage their own bills might not notice erroneous charges on their statements and may need to visit many different websites each month to make payments. This leaves them vulnerable to scammers who set up fake websites to mimic authentic online vendors. Clients of bill management services are protected against these online predators.
- Save Money: When handling finances on their own, it’s not uncommon for seniors to unknowingly pay the same bill twice or overpay for a service that they did not receive. To prevent this, account managers carefully review each incoming bill to check individual charges for accuracy. Some clients also utilize budgeting services, which proactively assigns spending amounts for each billing category at the beginning of the month. By accounting for every dollar in the budget and keeping track of how much is actually spent, seniors gain more control over their spending habits and begin saving money.
- Gain Back Valuable Time: Whether you are a senior wanting to spend more time with your grandchildren, or a busy caregiver needing to take something off your plate, bill management services are a great way to gain back your valuable time. Keeping up with ongoing and one-off bills requires much more than simply writing checks. It often involves taking the time to call insurance companies and accountants, in addition to organizing important documents and making notes for future reference. Account managers take care of all these tasks so that you can enjoy your most precious commodity: time.
- Enjoy Peace of Mind: As seniors age in place within their homes, family members often worry about their comfort and safety. If bills begin slipping through the cracks and go unpaid, it can quickly lead to unfortunate consequences. Overwhelming late fees, loss of utilities like heat and electricity, and even potentially losing a home all become harsh realities. Bill management services give you peace of mind, allowing you to let go of these worries and trust that your loved one’s bills are being paid on time. Additionally, seniors can relax and focus on what’s most important in their final years – not worrying about bills.
Tips for Avoiding Financial Fraud and Exploitation
Making the decision to open up a piece of your financial life to an outsider can elicit some understandable fears about exploitation. Unfortunately, there are scammers who prey on vulnerable seniors with hopes of walking away with their money in hand. However, with the appropriate knowledge and safe-guards outlined below, you can set yourself up to reduce the chances of fraud and spot early signs of suspicious activity.
- Do Your Research: Before moving forward with a bill management company, review their privacy and security protocols. Always ensure that employees are required to complete a thorough background check and the company is fully insured. Since sensitive information is accessed regularly, be sure to ask how client data is stored and whether security measures like firewalls and password protection are in place. The American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM) is also a great resource that provides referrals to vetted Daily Money Managers in your area.
- Review Financial Records Regularly: Once service is underway, it’s important to stay active in reviewing monthly bank statements and records. While there is some temptation to step away completely and trust that it is all taken care of, it is wise to enlist a trusted person to keep a watchful eye over bank accounts to check for any unusual activity.
- Limit Account Access: Rather than grant an account manager access to several different bank accounts, we encourage you to use only one checking account for all bill management purposes. Not only is it easier to protect against fraud when monitoring just one account, but it is also more effective to manage from a budgeting perspective. By not giving access to your savings and other accounts, you are greatly lowering the risk of financial exploitation.
- Sign All Checks: If it is physically possible, we suggest that seniors sign all checks prepared by their account manager. Creating this guardrail at the beginning of service puts control back in the client’s hands and sets the expectation that they are still involved in their daily financial transactions.
Free and Low-Cost Money Management Services and Tools
For some seniors, an inexpensive or free financial management tool may be good enough to help them keep track of their bills, expenses, and income. There are many money management tools out there that can make it much easier for anyone to keep track of their finances.
Below are a few apps, software programs, and research tools for money management and financial advisors that are free or low-cost. These could be perfect options for the independent senior that just needs a bit of organizational help or some basic advice from a pro:
HomeBank is a personal financial management software that allows users to maintain bank accounts, credit cards, and other accounts. The software allows you to create categories for types of income and expenses, as well as entries for every transaction you perform. The program is available for Mac, PC, and Linux computers.
Mint by Intuit
Free; Mint Premium costs $4.99/mo
Mint by Intuit is a personal finance app created by the team behind TurboTax and QuickBooks. The visually simple look and intuitive entry system make it easy to create budgets, set alerts, add accounts, insert transactions, and more. The app is available for Android and Apple phones.
You Need a Budget
34-day free trial, then $14.99/mo or $98.99/yr
YNAB is a personal budgeting software and app that helps people create a financial plan. It allows you to connect your bank accounts for real-time syncing, track financial goals, and see financial health reports. YNAB is available as a web app, Android app, and Apple app.
14-day free trial, then $9.00/mo or $60.00/yr
On Trajectory is a personal finance software that helps users track their money and understand where they are in relation to their goals. The software makes it easy to add bank accounts and assets, insert debts and bills, and see financial reports to help calculate payoff dates. On Trajectory is online software, usable on any internet-connected computer.
Personal Capital is a personal finance app that helps users manage all of their finances, including investments. The software allows for retirement planning options, account tracking, and investment analysis for avoiding fees and ensuring proper allocation. Personal Capital is available as a web app, Android app, and Apple app.
Let’s Make a Plan
Varies by provider
Let’s Make a Plan is a tool for finding Certified Financial Planners (CFPs). Users can search by location or financial services offered, such as budgeting, investing, long-term care, and more. Users can then research specific CFPs to see what they have to offer, how much their services may cost and how to contact them.
Varies by provider
Paladin Registry is a free service that matches investors with a financial advisor that suits their needs. Users can search their area for advisors who can help them make the most out of their investment portfolio of $100,000 or more.
How to Choose a Bill Paying Service
Choosing a bill management service is an important decision, but it does not have to be stressful. Since you will communicate with account managers on a regular basis, we encourage you to take your time getting to know the company and speaking to a few different employees. It’s also important to make sure that the service model matches your needs. For example, some companies are more technology-forward and send important updates through apps or online portals, while others follow a more traditional, in-person format. Below, we’ve identified three ways to help you narrow down your options when considering a bill management service.
Create a List of Your Needs
Most bill management providers offer a myriad of services that go beyond simply paying the bills, so it’s a good idea to create a list of your needs before jumping into your search. What is causing you the most stress? Perhaps tax season is approaching, and you need someone to help organize necessary documents. List every item that you anticipate needing assistance with – big or small. By taking the time to do this at the beginning of your search, you will be able to more easily identify which company is right for you.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If the company offers a free consultation, we highly recommend scheduling a meeting with the bill management companies you are considering. Representatives can walk you through examples of what a customized service plan looks like and even provide sample expense reports. This is a great time to gauge your level of comfort with the company and assess if its customer service style matches your needs.
Speak to References and Read Reviews
Most companies are happy to provide references to potential clients considering bill management. Because this is such a personal service, confidence and trust are essential when choosing a provider. Customer feedback is often the best measurement of a company’s success, so speaking with references and reading online reviews is a great place to start. Try to read a variety of recent online reviews for an insider’s look at the company’s customer experience. When speaking to references, be sure to ask pointed questions: How smooth was the initial onboarding process? Are they satisfied with their account manager’s communication frequency and style?
Although choosing a bill management service is a big decision, there are several ways to make it easier. The benefits of fraud prevention, saving money, gaining back time, and enjoying peace of mind are worth the effort to find the right service for you or your loved one. To learn more about managing finances as a caregiver, read our Guide to Caregiver Finances for options to help alleviate the financial impact of caregiving.
Frequently Asked Questions
What services does a bill management company provide?
Bill management companies provide a variety of services, including reviewing and paying ongoing and one-time bills. Dedicated account managers regularly meet with clients to review expense tracking reports, budgets and any questions that arise. Account managers also assist with additional tasks like monitoring accounts for fraud, mail management, tax document organization and filing insurance claims.
Why should seniors use a bill management service?
As adults age, everyday tasks like paying the bills become more difficult to do effectively. When you add in complicated daily medication regimens and frequent doctor appointments, it’s easy to overlook the stack of bills piling up on the table. Bill management services give seniors peace of mind by protecting them from overwhelming late fees, the loss of utilities like heat and electricity, and even potentially losing a home. Additionally, these services provide ongoing account monitoring that greatly reduce instances of elder financial exploitation.
What are the benefits of a bill management service for seniors?
Seniors who take advantage of bill management services gain back valuable time. Keeping up with ongoing bills requires calling insurance companies and accountants, in addition to organizing important documents and making notes for future reference. Account managers take care of all these tasks so that seniors can relax. Seniors also save money when using bill management services through budgeting and gaining control over their spending habits.
Are seniors at higher risk for financial exploitation?
Seniors are at a higher risk for financial exploitation due to social isolation and mental impairment, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Many vulnerable seniors fall prey to phone, email and online scams that can quickly result in a drained bank account. These fraudulent activities take on many different forms, including government imposters, health insurance scams and computer tech support scams.
How can I help protect my older loved one from financial exploitation?
In order to protect your loved ones against financial exploitation it’s important to educate yourself and your loved one about common elder fraud scams and consider using a bill management service. Dedicated account managers consistently monitor seniors’ bank accounts for signs of suspicious activity and handle the payment of all bills to reduce the risk of fraud.