How much could I epost?

Over the course of a month I accumulate a pile about 6 inches thick of postal mail consisting of bills, statements and junk mail for home and business. It takes me about 30 minutes every month to sort through it all, separating the few pieces of wheat from the endless mountains of “hey, shouldn’t you sign up for our Cardmember Protection Service” chaff.

Other people I know pay all their bills by automatic payment from their bank account or credit card, but I’m not trusting enough of corporations or banks to let it all flow that easily — I’m afraid that the phone company will take $1000 out of my account one month and it will take me years to get it back. It’s also a good exercise for me to go through the monthly bills to get a general sense of what I’m actually spending.

However I could do without the 6 inch mountain of paper, and Canada Post’s epost service has always held out the promise of allowing me to do this. The last time I checked, however — probably 4 years ago — only a selected few of my monthly payees could send their bills to me by epost, and I set it aside. Today I decided to take another look, and here’s what I found:

  • Canada Revenue Agency (corporate and payroll taxes, GST): No
  • CIBC (business Visa): No
  • Charlottetown Water and Sewer (home water): No
  • Co-op Fuels (home oil): No
  • Canadian Tire (personal Mastercard): Yes
  • Eastlink (business phone, home phone, Internet and cable TV): No
  • Grant Thornton (accountant): No
  • Hyndman and Company (home and auto insurance): No
  • Maritime Electric (home electricity): Yes
  • Message Centre (alarm monitoring): No
  • Province of PEI (property tax): No
  • Workers Compensation Board (business premium): No

So that’s 12 bills, two of which I can get through epost. Guess I’ll take another look in four years.

Comments

Matt's picture
Matt on August 11, 2008 - 02:30

What about electronic banking that does not have automatic withdrawl? I know with Eastlink, for example, I get the bill via e-mail and pay it through my banks web site when I choose to. When you sign up for this, you won’t receive a paper bill. There also seems to be a lot more companies available to make payments to.

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on August 11, 2008 - 03:26

A number of the bills you list still arrive in paper format, but may be paid through your bank. Province of PEI property tax is one example. In my case, whenever a paper bill arrives, I immediately sign on to my online banking, and schedule the bill for payment, usually on the last payday before the bill due date. At that point, I throw the bill in the recycling (personal) or file it (business). At any point in time, I can review my pending payments, and cancel them if I want. I also store my payments online within the banking system, so I can look them up anytime. It’s not completely electronic, but it works, and I have no paper pile at the end of the month.
The only payments that I have come out automatically are the completely non-discretionary phone and electric bills. The rest either arrive electronically through the ePost link with my bank, or arrive in paper form and are scheduled for payment electronically as soon as they arrive. In both cases, I choose when to pay and how much to pay each time, giving me some illusion of control over my finances.

Chuck McKinnon's picture
Chuck McKinnon on August 11, 2008 - 11:02

I keep waiting for Earth Class Mail to offer service in Canada. The closest service I can find in Canada is offered by BDC and seems to apply only to businesses, not individuals; their street address, too, is limited to Toronto unlike ECM who offer various addresses around the U.S.

If you find any better solutions, let me know.

DerekMac's picture
DerekMac on August 11, 2008 - 11:47

I don’t see any reason why you can’t use Earth Class Mail right here. Just change your billing address for the appropriate companies to one of the US addresses shown, keeping your residential address as it was. I am sure that companies such as Maritime Electric and Aliant send bills to the US all the time, due to the large number of Americans who own cottages here.
There is also a certain snob appeal to listing your address as “Park Avenue South, New York City”, or “Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood”!

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on August 11, 2008 - 19:12

Update: Canada Revenue Agency does have a service they call E-PD7A that lets you receive your “Statement of Account for Current Source Deductions” electronically through you bank. Unfortunately they only support TD Canada Trust, National Bank and Scotiabank, and not my local Credit Union.

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