- Personal Finance
How to Mail an Invoice Payment - Advice When Paying by Check
A Life Basic
Paying invoices are a part of everyone's life. Of course, it can be a painful part of life trying to scrape together enough money to pay bills, but it is still a necessary evil. Unfortunately, many people are confused about the proper way to mail an invoice payment. I am not sure if this is a skill no longer being taught in high schools or if everyone is so familiar with online payments that they've lost touch with this simple process, but I've noticed that some folks need some help.
I work in an office and I have to enter payments into our data system. I am always surprised to see how many invoices and checks we receive with incorrect information. Since there seems to be a need for this type of tutorial, I would like to explain how to mail an invoice payment.
Check It Out!
Whenever you receive an invoice in the mail, the first step is making sure you really owe it. Did you just pay this last week, and the payment and the invoice crossed in the mail? If so, do not mail another payment. This is confusing and time consuming on everyone's part. Of course, if you receive another notice you need to give the customer number a call since there is obviously some type of error.
Next, you want to make sure all the charges are accurate. Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes you get a bill that you simply do not owe. Other times, someone is using your account to make fraudulent purchases. If this is the case, you must immediately call the number listed on the invoice.
Most of the time you will find that you owe the bill. What you want to do at this time is either A) sit it to the side and pay later (maybe cry depending on how much money you owe), or B) get the checkbook to pay it now. When you do go to pay the bill, remember to write the correct amount of money on the check. You'd be surprised how many people do not write the correct amount. Check the check! Always put an account number or an invoice number on the memo line on the bottom left side of the check.
When you go to mail you check - and this is crucial - always include the invoice. If you need a copy of the invoice, that is perfectly normal. That is the reason copy machines exist. Make yourself a copy and then mail the invoice along with the check. If the invoice has a perforated section, tear that off and mail that to the company. At least once a week, we receive a "mystery check" at work. Someone will mail us a check and their name is not in our system, so we assume they are paying for someone else. There is no account number on the memo line of the check, or an incorrect account number is listed. All of this would still be OK if the invoice was included, but it isn't. We are not detectives and we can't always hunt down the "mystery sender." Sometimes we must mail the check back and that delays whatever payment you are trying to make. If the payment is due on a certain date, you run the risk of paying a late fee when the process is delayed.
Diagram of a Check
Some Other Helpful Hints
I know we are all having money issues. Sometimes you simply cannot pay the full amount and it happens to the best of us. This does not mean you should ignore the bill. Contact the company that issued the invoice and see if you can work something out with them.
Also, please do not decide to give yourself a discount or your own version of a payment plan. When you mail a check and the amount is different from anything in our system, we don't know what is going on. If you want or need some type of assistance, you must call and then a customer service rep can work with you. Many customer service reps can work a payment plan out with you or give a discount occasionally. Just don't take advantage of the system too much. I am really nice to first time callers, but if you call repeatedly, my patience and my discounts start to drift away.
Always pay by the due date indicated on the bill. There are usually late fees associated with late payments. Once you start having to pay late fees, it can spiral out of control. While you are making late fee payments, you could start missing other payments which will then make those payments late and you will incur more late fees. Whenever possible, never pay late and never pay that extra fee.
When you do mail your payment, always mail it to the address indicated on the invoice. This is another mystery to me. People will time and time again mail a payment to the wrong address. Companies will always tell you on the invoice which address to use. If they do not, that is their problem, not your problem. However, most companies indicate the correct address. If you mail the payment to the wrong address, that slows the payment process.
Make It Happen!
Now that you've learned all about paying an invoice by mail, go out there and pay one! If you do not have any to pay at this time, I envy you. The invoice paying process should be a simple one. You just need to get the hang of it and you will be correctly making payments without any errors or delays.