Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Paying Bills

As yesterday's post may have hinted, the process of paying bills in the BVI is rather different from in the US. The lack of a well-organized postal system is probably the chief factor that makes receiving and paying bills a bit more complicated. Some companies are happy to send a bill to a postbox, but since the post is somewhat new (postal codes were introduced in 2006), many companies don't even send a bill. 

Not receiving a bill means not knowing account numbers or balances, so in turn, mailing a check to pay a bill is often out of the question. If I were to mail a check to BVI Cable, for instance, without an account number written on it or a stub to accompany it, I'm sure they would happily deposit the check and never credit the account. Mailing a check also means a trip to the post office, as there is no easy "dropping it in a mailbox" or "letting the mailman pick it up" here; neither mailboxes or mailmen exist here. 

But what of online bill pay, I hear many of you asking. HB and I paid nearly all our bills online in Florida, after all. Hah! The internet is an even newer advent in the BVI than the postal system. Admittedly, many banks here are now offering online banking (a recent addition), but few of them offer an online bill pay service. Even more rare are companies that have the capacity to pay bills through their corporate website. 

All of this means that most folks are left with one option: to go to each company's headquarters and pay the monthly bills in person, no small feat considering many utility companies and banks are open only from 9:00 am to 3:30pm, Monday through Friday. Take a moment, those of you who work a 40-hour week, and imagine trying to pay all your bills given those parameters. Thankfully, I'll be permanently switching to Thursday and Friday off, which will make it infinitely easier to pay our bills than it has been over the last few weeks, when both HB and I only had Sundays off. 

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