Pros & Cons of Paperless Statements

There are a number of very good reasons to avoid having paper statements anymore. However there are an equal number of really good reasons to keep them coming. Let’s take a few minutes to examine the pros and cons of paperless statements.
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Environmental Concerns
If you ever stop and consider the sheer amount of paper in your home, it’s easy to understand why most American old growth forests are now new growth forests. But it doesn’t stop there.

If you’ve ever driven past a paper mill, the odor emanating from the place speaks in no uncertain terms to the air pollution resulting from paper production. Paperless statements help reduce these impacts dramatically.

Smaller Stacks of Mail
With the advent of text messaging, email and social media, does anyone actually write a personal letter, fold it, place it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and hand it off to a postal worker for delivery anymore?

That used to be a prime means of communication.

Nowadays, the only letters you get are bills and solicitations to create more bills. With paperless statements, more of the mail you get is mail you actually want.

Financial Incentives
In an effort to reduce overall costs, many creditors are offering discounts and prizes to customers who elect to go paperless. In what is perhaps the ultimate example of the carrot and the stick, other companies are charging fees for customers who insist upon paper statements.

Reduced Security Concerns
If you don’t shred your bank statements and credit card bills and dispose of them in a secure fashion, a dumpster diver can gain access to your financial data. These documents have your address, account numbers and often list your purchases.

This information can be used to gain access to your accounts and use them for personal gain. Paperless statements don’t leave this sort of breadcrumb for thieves to follow.

Overlooked Details
Paperless statements make paying bills easier, but they also encourage paying them without reviewing them. If someone gains control over your account and uses it conservatively, thefts could go undetected for years. This is even more likely if you have the account set up for automatic payments.

On the other hand, it’s also easy to forget when a bill is due, which puts you in jeopardy of missing a payment. This makes it easy to fall behind, especially if you’re having money issues. If this is the case for you, companies like Freedom Debt Relief offer solutions to help you get your bills back under control.

Password Overload
Best practices recommend varying passwords. That way, if one account is compromised, access isn’t granted to all the others. However, this means you’re going to have to find some sort of way to remember each password. This can become unmanageable quite quickly, which is why most people share passwords among accounts. So much for the added security aspect of going paperless.

Archiving Issues
While this concern varies by company, an archive of older statements may be difficult to search. With a file of paper statements, going back to find an old statement can be easier. Plus, with paper, you won’t have to worry about the company deciding it’s held onto to them long enough and discarding your records.

Lost Emails
Paperless statements can easily get caught in spam filters, leaving you to wonder where your bill might be. What’s more, if you change your email address, you’ll have to notify every creditor of the change so you can avoid missing payments.

As you can see, there are compelling arguments on both sides of this question. Your best move will be to consider what’s most important to you and deciding accordingly.

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