Paying The Bills

General topics related to Living in Chile
Britkid
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Paying The Bills

Post by Britkid » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:30 pm

This is intended mostly for people who are coming to Chile soon or just arrived in the last few months.

General Tips:
1. Before getting a bank account, pay bills in person at a Servipag/Sencillito (generic pay point found in/near shops and supermarkets). Take cash incase they don’t accept card or it doesn’t work. Take the physical, printed bill with you and give it to them to avoid dictation errors or confusion about which reference number they have to use. Go a Tue/Wed/Thur in the middle of the month when it is quieter, never at the start of the month when people have just had their salary and there are huge lines.

2. If you need to pay money to a business or person before you get a bank account, you can in effect do a bank transfer by going in person to their bank with their bank details and handing over cash.

3. A bank account (usually Banco Estado cuenta RUT which is much easier to get approved for than most other accounts) is recommended if you are in Chile 1 year+. Sooner or later, you will need it for something or other. If you are in Chile 1 year+ I’d also recommend getting a “clave de transferencia” card to do transfers and pay bills and a “tercera clave” to do bank transfers. The first is a physical card with a grid where A1, B2 corresponds to a specific number to validate your payments and the second is where it will prompt you for a code sent to your phone or in an automatic call to your phone. Without them the account will end up being limited, annoying and maybe even useless. Ask for them immediately that your account is open. Do not expect them to be offered to you unrequested. This is all a hassle to sort out; you may end up going back and forth to the bank 2-3 times to sort it all out. However if you are staying 1 year+ you will probably make the time back in avoiding travelling to and queuing up at the bank or at Servipag to pay for things.

4. If any form in the online banking asks for Nueva Cuenta Inscrita, try writing the person name. That worked for me once. Person’s names are one first name then one surname in most cases.

5. Figure out over time the one day of the month when you can pay all the bills on that same day so you only have to login to the bank once a month. You need to find the one day when all the bills are available to pay but none have yet gone over the due date or threatened to cut off your services. Alternatively, see other strategies below.

6. Direct debits/automatic bill paying doesn’t seem to be common here, although it appears that some banks offer a feature. John posted here that he used “Banco de Chile's pago automático feature” viewtopic.php?t=13705

7. Bills are usually monthly rather than quarterly.

8. Zeronz posted in 2010 that in the online account of the bank BCI you can “add all your accounts to the list, and once a month you hit "get me the amount outstanding" and then hit the "pay now" button, two clicks, everything paid, Gas, power, Water, Tv, Internet, Mobile, Tolls, you name it..” viewtopic.php?t=4636

9. Otravers posted in 2016 that you can consolidate various bills on Servipag into a single payment: viewtopic.php?t=13705

10. Paying extra months in advance will usually not work online or at a pay point. Perhaps if you visit the utilities at their office, but then you would have to do each one individually.

11. If you get error messages, the error messages in Chile are often wrong. For example it may say you have the account number wrong if you have the account number right and something else is wrong. Just treat an error message as a generic error message and consider other possibilities. (Same is true for ATMs, credit card payments.)

12. Write down the specific routings within your bank account to pay each bill as it’s a pain to remember it all. Keep this all in a file. I'll post some examples in a separate comment, article is getting too long otherwise.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

Britkid
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by Britkid » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:39 pm

Specific routing (what I click and in what order) to pay certain things in Banco Estado (I have Cuenta RUT):

Create a file with all this written down otherwise before I did that I could hardly navigate through all the different options. If you only have a few bills or you have consolidated them, this may not be necesssary. I have tons of bills because I work from home in a professional, customer-facing capacity so I need to maintain multiple phone and internet connections so I have backup and never get cut off.

Here are some examples:

Movistar combo (phone/TV/internet), go to: Pago En Linea section: Telefonia Fija – Movistar Recarga Fijo Online, then Pago Cuentas no Inscritas, then Telefonia Fija, Movistar Hogar/Negocio(s), for identifying number I use the 9-digit phone number of the landline which is in the service.

Combo Bill or Landline Entel: Pago en Linea. Choose “Telefonia Fija” “Entel Hogar” for combo bill on the first screen. Second screen type in these options: “Your Name”, “Telefonia Fija”, “Entel Hogar”, “RUT”.

Internet Entel (USB dongle type) only bill)
, Pago en Linea. choose “Telefonia Celular” and “Entel PCs” on the first page and then on the second “Your Name”, “Telefonia Celular”, “Entel PCs”, “RUT”.

Mobile phone Entel, Pago en Linea. choose Telefonia Celular, Entel PCs. Then Entel again in second section.

TAG (toll roads), Use “Pago en Linea” “Pago de Servicios” and then choose “Autopistas” and “Pago Total TAG” (covers Costanera Norte, Vespucios, Autopista Central all at once) and then “Pago Cuentas No Inscritas” to pay autopista. For identifying number use RUT. Remember to check both cars separately if you have two. Suggest don’t bother to pay your TAGs every month. That is a waste of time since they don’t do anything if you’re only a few months late; they just add on like 50 pesos interest or something. Whenever I get a physical bill I just put in the bin and just do the Pago Total TAG once every 3-4 months. Incidentally, if anyone knows how to stop the physical, postal bills from coming at all, let me know. The only time you need to pay promptly is when you are selling the car soon to keep the record clean and up to date.

I take screenshots of the “payment success” type screens. I’ve never yet needed them though.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

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admin
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by admin » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:49 pm

Nice how to. Perhaps some others will add to it.
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eeuunikkeiexpat
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by eeuunikkeiexpat » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:10 pm

Advice is never to sign up for any auto pay in Chile or you may have created yourself a problem that can never be resolved or turned off.

I pay my stuff in three groups as that is how the dates fall: (1) Rent; (2) Gas, Gastos Comunes, FONASA via Previred.cl and Pagos section of CuentaRUT; (3) Agua, Luz, Internet.

If you do not have the physical paper bill for a utility (as sometimes happens), keep a list of your client ID numbers and you can pull them up online at the company's website.

Tercer clave for CuentaRUT is also needed to confirm the addition of new accounts to your frequent account list (for me just landlord and condo fee). You will need name, RUT, banc, type of account, number of account to make a transfer or setup an account in your list. CuentaRUT charges 300 pesos for transfers (not to be confused with utility payments which are free) to non BancoEstado accounts.

I feel PDF saves are more professional than screen shots, on a Mac, hit the print icon on the verified payment page and save as PDF.

Safari sometimes has issues with RedCompra payment window, usually switching to FireFox works.

Remember there are multiple ways to pay for your utilities depending on who is down or having problems on the front end. There is the company's site itself, Servipag online and the payment options within the Pagos section of your Chile bank account.
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by admin » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:43 pm

I signed up for auto payments years ago, and could not be happier.

Once, after a particularly long day of standing in line making payments with my wife, realizing as I stood in line, that over half the GDP of Chile was standing in line with me (both in terms of cash and human productivity), along with our wasted time, I said, "we are never doing this again".

We hired a junior / secretary just handle paying bills. That position morphed over the years in to a lot of other things, but still one of the most important parts of the job description.

I only have a vague idea how it works.

Money goes in to my account.

My wife automatically takes it out.

She sends it to one our secretaries.

somehow the payments all get made.

My secretary has exceptional job security because I think at this point only she knows how all that all auto-magically translates in to the payments being made. :lol:

Every so often, as I am reviewing ways to cut costs in our business, and that secretary position comes up, my wife reminds me that she the one that pays all the bills. That ends that conversation for another few years.
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Donnybrook
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by Donnybrook » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:57 pm

I agree that I would never pay my bills though automatic debit from the bank. (You can do it using your debit or credit card options). Once the utility's system has a bank account number they never want to let it go. My water bill still has my husband's name on it and says it is paid through the bank. It isn't. All the others got changed with a phone call. But the water company wants a advisory from the bank disconnecting the payment from an account which has not existed for four years. If you pay through your bank/credit card it can be a nightmare when you get a new cc and the number changes.

I like to get a physical bill and check it. I have found mistakes often enough to like this way of doing things. I use Servipag in person (cheques), or online if I am away. There is also a totem in larger Lider supermarkets (Servifacil) where you can register with your RUT and list the bills you want to pay. It spits out a paper slip which you take to any cashier in the supermarket and pay with cash or debit card. I always used that for the electricity bill because Servipag would not handle them. But recently Enel has been added to the bills you can pay in Servipag.

If you have a TAG electronic reader in the car, you can dictate the RUT of the person it is registered to in Servipag and they can tell you if there is any debt. I get a paper bill from one of the autopistas and an online advisory for another. I seldom use them so sometimes they wait a few months to consolidate the debt into a respectable amount.

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fraggle092
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by fraggle092 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:25 am

Agree with previous posters that automated payments are fine when all goes OK, but can be a big problem when errors happen. Chilean businesses generally dont "do" refunds or credits.

I don't especially bother keeping on top of bills, just pay them if and when they arrive. They are usually quick to let you know about outstanding ones. Some companies, like VTR, start harassing for payment one day after the due date, others let a month or two go by, charging interest of course.

Slowly changing to email statements, they seem somewhat more reliable than hand-delivered bills.
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Britkid
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by Britkid » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:50 pm

It strikes me that cancelling these auto payments (or trying to) might be a pain if you have to leave the country, especially if it is unexpected (e.g. sudden job offer) and you need to go fast and cancel it all at the last minute.

I suppose if you were leaving and burning all bridges and closing down your bank accounts and never coming back it might be easier.

I guess some sort of auto pay might be a good choice if you are staying in the country for many years, maybe indefinately, and you think the saved time of paying each month is worth the risk.

Also if you are the kind of person who thinks that someone overcharged you by 20,000 would send you into a boiling rage and you would probably spend the next 6 months tenaciously fighting it, perhaps citing "point of principle" then maybe autopay isn't for you. Whereas if you are the kind of person who sees the occassional 20,000 ripoff as just part of the deal of living here, and would rather let it go to have the free time to enjoy a glass of wine while watching a sunset with someone, then maybe autopay is for you.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

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eeuunikkeiexpat
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by eeuunikkeiexpat » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:59 pm

It literally takes less than a minute to pay a utility bill or transfer my rent or transfer my gastos or pay for FONASA. So 1 minute on the 4th, 3 minutes on the 6th and 3 minutes on the 18th. 7 minutes of my precious times though I usually do it during the day with my other Internet activities so I would not be drinking a glass of wine or beer or taking shots, perhaps sipping on coffee...

So 7 minutes vs. living life getting reamed? Not even a borderline logical choice question.
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fraggle092
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by fraggle092 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:34 pm

Britkid wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:50 pm
Whereas if you are the kind of person who sees the occassional 20,000 ripoff as just part of the deal of living here, and would rather let it go to have the free time to enjoy a glass of wine while watching a sunset with someone, then maybe autopay is for you.
Sounds like consumer paradise,but maybe an overcharge of $13.000.000 or, in my case, a mere $1.500.000 might make you choke a little on that wine.
(I managed to claw back half of it, finding out in the process how useless SERNAC and SEC really are.)

And from todays Tercera
A través de los reclamos, los consumidores indicaban que la empresa habría incurrido en irregularidades en los pagos automáticos, generando más de un cobro en un mismo mes o variando los montos sin consultarlo previamente al usuario.
Once bitten....
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by scandinavian » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:37 pm

I have a lot of my services on automatic payment by credit card (PAT). Not the ones I like to check like electricity, water and gas, but highways, online services, car insurances, subscriptions. So far it has been no problem cancelling these services when I for example have changed insurance company. You can just remove it online through your online banking system. Besides from time saved, then some banks waive the monthly card / cuente corriente fee if you have PAT's on your cards.
I do plan on staying here long term and also understand that newcomers will not be able to set up cuenta corriente nor credit cards for a few years typically.
For me it is a time saver and money saver.
And you can set up max limit for each service (at least with Santander).

Britkid
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Re: Paying The Bills

Post by Britkid » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:54 pm

There was this one time a few years ago...I can't remember if I moaned about it on here at the time...I had car and home insurance with Falabella. I bought a 1-year policy with them for both and paid with credit card. After 8 months or so we moved house. I called them up and asked them if the home insurance could transfer to a new house. They said no, so I wrote off the 4 months I'd already paid and bought a completely new home insurance policy for the new address, again with Falabella.

A while later, on the UK debit card I'd used via webpay for what was a 1-time payment, I got charged for a full year on the old house that I was no longer living in, which I already told them I had left. So now they are charging me for living in two houses at once.

They also waited for some reason until 3-months into the year before charging it. That's 15 months after the original charge. I suspect they did this deliberately so that I couldn't get the refund for the whole year.

There was never any basis for doing this, never any agreement, and they never claimed there was, I never received an email or reminder letter telling them that I would be charged (or even a receipt after the fact saying that I had been charged) and they didn't even bother to claim that they had sent one, or that there was any contractual basis for an automatic renewal.

But apparently it's all my fault since I didn't fill out a solicitud in advance, what was the form called, oh yeah it's the "please don't senselessly fuck me over" form. At least in the UK they have the courtesy to send you a "your renewal will automatically go through in 3 weeks" letter or email and make you sign a contract that possibly even warns in the small print that this may happen.

To cut a very long story short, after a huge amount of time and hassle and crappy service and broken promises, I eventually got (most of) the money back but only after about the 6th time they said it will be in your account by x date. I think it took about 5 or 10 hours work and 5 or 10 visits in person to the store.

That was only for about 100.000 CLP though.

Of course, I cancelled the car insurance before it renewed and as a result they lost 2 million pesos and counting (2 cars over various years since then) that would have just been free money since I have never claimed.

I have also not yet spent even 1,000 pesos in the Falabella stores since then. It's not really that much hassle to walk across the mall to Ripley or Paris or somewhere else where they sell all the same junk for the same prices. That's another few million pesos and counting that they've lost.

And I'm not sure if that counts as an auto-pay story. I certainly did not request any auto pay.
In 2014/2015 I blogged about my life in Chile. http://web.archive.org/web/201601121940 ... age_id=268

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