One hallmark of the digital revolution is the embracing of paperless communications. Email, text messages and instant chat have transformed the way we communicate. In fact, phone calls now seem quaintly old-fashioned.
This change has also extended to our bills. Yes, most creditors will still provide copies on paper. However, salivating over the financial advantages they can realize, lenders are relentlessly urging customers to forego hard copies in favor of digital reproductions.
Is accepting them a good idea?
Here are the pros and cons of paperless statements.
Paper literally grows on trees, which means in most cases trees must be sacrificed to create those bills. Fewer paper statements mean more trees saved and less pollution from the paper production industry. Plus you eventually dispose of them, which, if the paper isn’t recycled, will become one more stack of stuff in a landfill.
Reduced Household Clutter
That stack of bills on your desk can be quite unsightly. Further, you’ll need filing cabinets to store them should you ever need to review past statements. You’ll also spend time sorting through them and organizing them to ensure you get them all covered. So, in addition to being an unsightly mess, paper statements take more effort to pay.
Rewards and Perks
Recognizing the potential for improved profit, many creditors are offering discounts and other rewards for customers who elect to go paperless. There are also sweepstakes offerings. Other creditors and some banks, choosing to go stick over carrot, actually charge a fee for sending paper statements.
Discarding paper statements in the trash can set you up for identity theft. What’s more, if your mailbox isn’t secured, they don’t have to wait for you to throw them out, they can check the bills before they ever get to you. These are non-issues with paperless — as long as you have strict security protocols in place to protect your devices and passwords.
Going paperless makes missing a statement easier to do and, by extension, missing payments. Some people need a physical reminder. What’s more, if the statement gets caught in your spam filter and you never get it, you could miss a due date and incur late fees.
If this has already happened to you a number of times and your accounts are getting out of hand, consulting a reputable company like Freedom Debt Relief can help you find the best solution to get your finances back on track.
Yet Another Password to Remember
A significant portion of the contemporary human being’s memory is consumed by passwords. They’re required everywhere from App stores to Zurich bank accounts. Further, experts advise using different passwords for every single account we have online. Paperless statements give you one more of which you’ll need to keep track.
Difficulty Accessing Older Statements
If you ever need to go back 10 or 15 years to find an expense, you might have a problem getting that information right away. Depending upon the creditor and their archival procedures, this could take a few days or even weeks. Further, they are likely to charge you a fee for providing the service.
Fraud Could Go Unnoticed
If you look only at the amount due each month and pay it, or worse, have it set for automatic payment and don’t look at the statement at all, a shrewd thief could milk you dry a little bit at a time without you noticing. Given you generally only get 60 days to dispute billing errors, this could be a costly oversight.
These eight factors are among the most significant pros and cons of paperless statements. In a nutshell, going paperless does offer conveniences, but these can be tempered by the concerns they bring. Ultimately, whether or not you can manage the downsides comfortably is up to you.