In this growing age of technology, people are finding themselves spending much of their business day taking place online. This includes having banking and financial transactions occur over the internet. Many people are finding themselves receiving the offer to have their statements be online; however, the question remains: what is an online statement and why should you use them? To help you figure out if going “paperless” is the best option for you we have provided some guidelines to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of using online statements.
What is the difference between a paper statement and an online/paperless statement?
Though it may seem complicated, the difference between a paper statement and online statements is quite simple. A paper statement is a statement that has been physically printed on paper. These are the ones you receive in the mail and are tangible pages you have in front of you. An online statement, however, is an electronic version of a statement users can find online by logging into their financial accounts. Account holders can view and access these statements from any device online at any time and have the opportunity to download and even print them as needed. Let’s face it: there are both negatives and positives associated with both forms of statements, but the key is identifying which advantages and disadvantages are most important to you.
Advantages of online/paperless statements
One of the biggest advantages associated with receiving an online statement is the decreased likelihood of your information being stolen. Unlike paper copies which often contain your full account number and are sent in the mail, online statements refrain from including the whole number and are sent directly to you through email (or through log-in). This decreases the odds of having both your information and statement lost or stolen in the mail.
Another big advantage associated with using an online statement is the reduction in energy, pollution, and paper usage. Utilizing a paperless statement cuts down on the pollution from paper production. Additionally, no paper statements means no papers to sort, store, shred and dispose of.
Efficiency and Speed
Another advantage of a paperless statement is that you can receive them in the moment they are created. Once it is emailed to you, you have the opportunity to view it quickly and easily. In addition, you can easily pay your bill online with the click of a button. This not only eliminates the hassle of writing a physical check but also the worry of running out of stamps or receiving a late fee because you cut it a little too close to the deadline.
Another big advantage of paperless statements is the fact that they can be accessed on any device from anywhere at any time. If your device is connected to the internet, you have the ability to view and access your statement and account. This is very beneficial for those who like to travel and worry about their statements collecting in their mailbox. With a paperless statement they get emailed to you directly no matter your location.
Disadvantages of online/paperless statements
Of course, there are some disadvantages associated with receiving paperless statements.
Setting up an account and learning the system
One disadvantage associated with a paperless statement is the need to set up an online account and the learning curve that comes with using it. In many cases banks or credit card companies will require you to set up and activate an account to access your statements. For some this can present the challenge of learning a new system and understanding the ins and outs to the software associated with the paperless statement.
No access to old statements
Since online statements are relatively new, many past statements up to a certain year are unavailable to view. This means that you would need to have the physical paper statements from those years to have access to them. However, once you sign up for paperless statements you will have access to every single online statement you have received since signing up.
Easy to forget or miss a payment
If you are someone who needs physical reminders to help do something, paperless statements may not be for you. Since they are usually sent through email the potential to miss or forget to view them is more likely. However, setting calendar reminders and notes can help you to avoid this issue.
Disadvantages of paper statements?
Just like the paperless statements there are also some disadvantages associated with paper statements. Though many prefer having the physical copy of their statements the likelihood of the statement getting lost or stolen increases. This could lead to the possibility of having your identity stolen or compromised. In addition, as previously mentioned there is a lot of negative environmental impacts associated with the process of receiving physical paper statements. Additionally, improper disposal of the statements could also result in your documents getting into the wrong hands. Receiving a physical statement also makes maintaining privacy hard if you share your residence with others. To ensure your protection, you must make sure to not accidentally leave your paper statements where others can view them.
Do paper statements have any advantages?
After learning of the disadvantages associated with paper statements you may find yourself asking if there are any advantages to having a paper statement. The short answer to the question is yes, but it depends on the qualities and preferences you are looking for from your statement. One major advantage associated with a paper statement is the fact that they make remembering to pay your bills easier. With a physical reminder on the board, you are more likely to pay it on time. In addition, paper statements may be beneficial to you if you live in an area with an unreliable internet connection. Without the connection you will not be able to view a paperless statement which could make paying your bills impossible.
Which should you choose?
The choice to go with a paper or paperless statements depends solely on your bill-paying habits, internet access, and values. If you find yourself struggling to secure a reliable internet connection from your private computer or devices or needing a concrete physical reminder to pay your bills, then a paper statement is probably the best choice for you. However, if you are looking for a quick, efficient, and easily accessed statement then receiving a paperless statement is the better option for you. It is important to remember that there is no right answer when it comes to which form of statement is better. Selecting the form of statement that fits in with your needs, habits, and values will help you determine which one is right for you.