Time Warner Cable Pay Bonanza

I came home this evening and found a second “threatening” letter from Time Warner Cable. Headed URGENT NOTICE [their emphasis] it says that my TWC “eBill statement will no longer be available through Checkfree, your bank or other financial services online bill payment provider.”

And that after June 18th, “you will only be able to access your eBill statement online through the newly redesigned Time Warner Cable PayXpress online bill payment service.” – How it works today. I subscribe through Bank of America online banking for TWC eBills; the bill arrives electronically at BOA; I get an email payment reminder from BoA, I logon to BOA online banking and schedule the payment to be paid 1-day before its’ due at TWC. Easy, simple, BoA handle all the security debit, credit accounts etc. and I get a unique transactio id.

I certainly hope that TWC isn’t going to stop making the balance and the online billing available through banks and switch to only available through this PayXpress outfit? There are numerous online complaints about customer service; some fairly obvious security questions and ultimately the most important, if TWC want to be paid in a timely manor, why don’t they make it as easy as possible for customers to pay, not as hard as possible.

As far as I’m concerned I’d rather go back to paper statements, and writing a check than use some unknown online bill payment system, for which it seems the incentive is to drive customers to pay by re-occurring credit card, than by bank mandate or check. I tried to switch my billing back to paper based, and sadly this doesn’t appear to be possible without creating a PayXpress userid/password and giving it more personal information.

Certainly I plan to give PayXpress a wide berth, you might too. Even if you do decide to use it, remember these simple rules for your own online security and safety.

  1. Never use the same password for more than one account, certainly never for your online banking, and a supplier system such as this.
  2. Never disclose more personal information than they should need. Does cable company really need your social security number?
  3. Always check to see that any web browser session prompting for a password, is done over a secure link[look for the padlock in the status bar]
  4. Never accept a pop-up asking you if it’s ok to display a page that has secure and non-secure items on it.
  5. Never trust a system that asks you for information, like account number, house address etc. and then promptly displays it back on the screen. You know the number, they know and have acknowledged the number, displaying it is a good indicator of poor system design.

Maybe I’m being unfair, maybe paranoia has set-in, but unless someone can tell me otherwise I can’t see any point to this new Time Warner Cable offering that is an improvement over what I’ve already got, and a whole lot of additional concerns. UNLESS YOU KNOW BETTER?

4 Comments so far

  1. ziva on May 7th, 2009 @ 8:20 am

    Here’s what you could do, Billeo It is a toolbar with all these nifty features that takes care of all your online transactions. The free service lets you manage bills, track purchases and store any online transaction information, including passwords, making online bill payment and shopping a breeze.

  2. triman on May 10th, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

    I’m pretty sure Billeo won’t know how much your bill is, the same as Bank of America. If this months emails are to be believed, this is the last month that you’ll know the amount of your bill unless you either register with PayExpress OR get paper bills.

    My e-bill this month generated two emails, one from Bank of America(in my case) which included the AMOUNT of the bill. The 2nd email came directly from PayExpress and di NOT include the amount. Assuming they are as good as their word, I assume the next bill will be the same, and then the one after that will NOT be sent to BoA. The only way then to know how much to pay will either be from a paper statement sent by mail, or by registering with PayExpress. I’m really NOT going to do the later.

    However, I suspect that like Texas Gas, this is all a pre-cursor to TWC introducing new charges. I suspect they’ll add a surcharge for those wanting paper bills, and a smaller charge for using PayExpress. We’ll see, I’ll be following this one… more bad PR for TWC… and slower payment.

  3. Birmingham DUI Lawyer (unregistered) on October 18th, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    This sounds absolutely annoying. What about the TWC customers that don’t do business with Bank of America or who just don’t want to? I understand that this does not require a Bank of America account, but the added hassle of dealing with yet another company is entirely unnecessary.

  4. triman on October 18th, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. I’ve now been paying from my account with Amplify Credit Union here in Austin. It works fine which leads me to believe that you can continue to pay with ANY electronic payment system.

    I’ve also recently received a paper statement from TWC without requesting it, which I guess means they’ve backed down from their original position.

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