Utility customers have new option for bill payment

Miami utility customers now have an option to have their utility bill payments drafted monthly from their checking account.

City officials confirmed last week that an “auto draft” payment service is in place.

The option allows customers to authorize the City of Miami to draft scheduled monthly payments from a designated checking account.

The new service is offered as a benefit to customers who have been asking for automatic draft for a long time, according to Teresa Asbell, utility billing supervisor.

Asbell anticipates that the new service will reduce traffic to the utility payment window and will, in turn, save customers an extra trip to the bank.

As a service to their customers, most area banks will transfer a monthly utility payment from a customer's checking account into a designated city account.

“We get many payments that way,” Asbell said. “I believe that most, if not all, of those utility customers will sign up for the auto draft.”

Bills will draft on the due date, according to city officials. However, options for alternative draft dates may be offered later as the program evolves and participation increases.

“We are always looking for ways to improve or better serve our citizens and customers. Improving technologies gives us this opportunity,” said Miami City Manager Michael Spurgeon. “The primary advantage of auto draft is for the convenience of our customers.Especially those who want to reduce the number of checks they write each month and/or those who make payments in person.”

The option comes as part of a new financial software system implemented recently by the city.

Customers interested in auto draft need to fill out an activation form and present the utility department with a voided check