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Do Paperless Statements Really Do Their Part for the Earth?

Are you trying to make the right choice for the earth? Paperless statements are the way to go. Learn how they help the earth here.

Making the right choice for the earth is always a good one when possible. In recent years, it’s become easier to do that by switching to paperless statements. Or has it?

Sure, paperless statements make it easier to access information. They contribute and join in with the rest of our 24/7 society with apps and other nice perks. And, they can even help you save money.

paper statement

But there are also certain drawbacks to paperless statements, most of which aren’t advertised. You may be saving trees, but there may be some other things to consider as well.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for – and even against – paperless statements.

Paperless Statements: The Good

There are plenty of perks to paperless statements. Here are some of them.

24/7 Access to Banking Information

In the digital era, you are behind if the information you hold onto isn’t anytime, from any place, by any mobile device. Nowadays, due to the emergence of SmartPhones and other technology, 24/7 access is more of a requirement than a perk.

And it’s true that paperless statements allow you to access your stuff from anywhere in the world, so long as you have 4G or Wifi. For example, both Chase Paperless and Bank of America account statements are available directly from their respective apps.

This is much more convenient than going home to look through paper statements.

Online Bill Pay

Another perk of paperless statements and online banking is the ease and convenience of paying your bills online. Whether you’re paying your monthly mortgage or working down your balance with something like the first premier credit card, online bill pay makes life easier.

The automatic nature of bill pay also allows you to go on vacation or take time off without worrying about paying bills or getting stuff in the mail on time.

Helps The Environment

And of course, one of the biggest perks of paperless statements is the tons of paper saved each year that doesn’t have to be sent to you in the mail.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American uses about the equivalence of 1 100-foot tall Douglas Fir Tree in paper products per year. Paperless documents bank statements from Wells Fargo and other big banks help decrease this number.

Paperless Statements: Things to Consider

Now that a strong case has been made for paperless statements, let’s take a look at some of the potential drawbacks of not having your documents sent in the mail.

Your Bank Closes. Now What?

Sure, most large banks aren’t in danger of closing. Even if they did, there would be plenty of time for you to get access to your documents online. But if your bank did close, you would be responsible for getting all of your statements offline before they disappeared forever.

The great apparent strength of mobile banking and paperless statements is also the greatest curse; there is no paper trail. It’s on each consumer to make it their responsibility if something happens to their bank. Otherwise, you may lose your statements forever.

New Routines

Keeping track of your statements online is a lot different than getting them mailed to you. Before, it was easy to open mail and file them into a system. Nowadays, you have to download them, and let’s be honest, downloading is an easy thing to forget to do.

Sometimes, putting off downloading statements and organizing them on your computer can fall to the wayside for a long time. You may know where to get the information, but without some discipline on your end, it won’t always be sitting there in a file neatly.

7 Years, Or So…

Each bank has a written number of years for their mobile banking statements. This is how long they are required to hold onto your information.

Sure, 7 years (or around that) doesn’t seem like a big deal– now. After all, most of us have only been using mobile banking for around that long. But ten or even twenty years from now, this could pose a problem.

Again, it’s a matter of discipline on your end, which is also contingent on your ability to use technology well.

Customer Service?

Larger banks will have already done a lot of work to ensure you get the same customer service that you would at a local branch. However, some smaller banks may not yet have the capacity to pay for a large customer service platform that effectively covers their clients.

If you’re the type of person that really prefers speaking to someone and working through problems, you may come to find that paperless statements are not as effective as speaking face-to-face with a teller.

Paperless Statements: Wrap-Up

When it comes to working with paperless statements or opting into your bank’s mobile banking platform, there are a lot of things to consider.

The perks of paperless statements are certainly real but are contingent on your ability to use a computer and to stay disciplined about downloading your statements and accessing data. Otherwise, online banking can become a hassle that causes you frustrations.

Some potential drawbacks come in the form of the bank closing, the differences in customer service, and establishing a routine that automates you acquiring your mobile banking statements.

Overall, we’d say the benefits outweigh the negatives, as long as you stay responsible with your stuff and are willing to learn as you go.

Here’s where you can learn more about us and going green and other ways to save money doing so.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of Ways2GoGreen.com and Ways2GoGreenBlog.com. I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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