When it comes to our personal finances, keeping up with assorted bills can be challenging. The last thing anyone wants is to miss a payment due to human error, or even to have to log into multiple sites just to handle our monthly expenses. That’s why it makes so much sense to set up autopay to handle most of them—thereby eliminating the need to worry or fret about whether or not your bills are paid in a timely manner.

It might seem, then, that the smart thing to do is to treat your parcel carrier invoices the same way: set up autopay on your account(s) and remove the hassle and worry of missing a payment—or of spending precious time out of your day finding your FedEx® password, logging in, and manually doing what can be handled so much easier with autopay.

A deeper understanding into parcel carrier behaviors, however, reveals something else entirely. In fact, shippers who autopay their invoices are giving interest-free loans to the carriers and potentially leaving large amounts of money on the table. This money left behind has two forms:

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  1. Possible refunds you could receive from your carrier in the event of late deliveries or other carrier delivery errors.
  2. The cash that could have sat on your books and generated a return.

Once an invoice has been paid, it can be very difficult to secure refunds from FedEx. This is because paying your invoice is a tacit agreement of sorts that you have acknowledged and approved all the charges. By utilizing carrier autopay features, you diminish your ability to review those charges—whether by doing it yourself or using a third party auditor. Shippers that utilize autopay may find that an audit of their account is less effective because packages which would normally be refundable are no longer eligible for those refunds.

Even if auditing your parcel account for refunds isn’t your main concern, there is still the cash that could have sat on your books to consider. Paying the invoice immediately through an autopay function leaves less cash in reserves—cash that could have otherwise gone to your core business functions. Shippers must weigh the opportunity cost of these funds and determine whether autopay truly makes sense for them.

For most parcel shippers, autopay is a misleading option; it may look like a time-saver, and perhaps it is, but it is a money-waster. Whether a shipper is looking at their ability to secure future refunds through parcel auditing, or simply looking at funds that can be used elsewhere in their business, autopay is quite likely resulting in less money in parcel shippers’ pockets. It just goes to show—sometimes what is easy for you is not always what is right for you.

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