Pressure to Go Paperless

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Every time I pay a bill, or check my account balances online, I get messages from the financial institution to “Go Paperless!”   They’ve tried various tactics:

  • Contest opportunities and prizes
  • Money, such as a one time check for $5
  • Scare tactics about identity theft
  • Guilt trip route- “Go green” or “Save the environment.”

I have not given in.  I am still resisting the idea to go completely electronic, as I like to see proof.

In a previous post, I talked about protecting yourself against a hard drive disaster, where you lose everything stored in your computer   But what if something widespread were to happen to the banks’ electronic records?  “Poof!”  Everything has disappeared and you no longer have a bank account and you cannot prove it.

I am not against electronic records.  I do check my accounts balances off the internet and like to pay bills online.  And I know it is a pain to deal with filing all that paper.   Then you have to shred the statements after a year.   But even with all the conveniences, I like to know that I have a paper backup.

Has everyone else gone paperless but me?

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  1. No, I have resisted as well for the same reasons. Plus, remember this: the credit card/debit card companies are not out to do you any favors. It’s in their interest financially to go paperless, ie paper, ink, people and postage costs are reduced when consumers get sucked into this paperless mentality. They simply package the concept and try to sell you on the idea.

    1. Those finance companies are all serving so I never trust what they keep pushing in front of me. I would first have to research anything they try sell. Thanks Matt.

  2. Bernie,
    I went paperless about 6 years ago and there is no looking back! Here is a tip: when you pull an electronic statement from your bank or other provider, save a copy on your hard drive. I have my electronic financial records organized just like a file drawer with separate directories and sub-directories by vendor and by year. This way I am not dependent upon the internet to check my statements after the fact. Also, these electronic records are routinely backed up so I know they are protected.

    For statements that come by mail, I use my scanner and file electronic copies in the same manner. I then shred the originals and I am good to go.

    For someone who travels a lot, it is wonderful as well as liberating to have copies of all of your statements and important receipts on board at all times. And yes, I also scan most receipts – even my Costco receipts. I also pull electronic versions of product manuals from manufacturers websites. This saves a tremendous amount of time since I can easily do a search instead of working my way through a stack of binders.

    Bite the paperless bullet – you will get hooked!


    1. Gaye, Now I am curious how to go paperless without regrets– Did you buy a special scanner or system to do this, or just a regular printer/scanner would do? I’ve seen those infomercials on TV but they just try to sell pricey equipment. Would be interested what type of equipment/system needed. Thanks Gaye!

      1. I have a standard MFC (which stands for Multi Function something or other) purchased at Costco. I actually have three but that is another story. The device is a printer/scanner/fax combo but I do not use the fax since I subscribe to a monthly service that allows me to send faxes by email and they show up on the recipient’s fax machine like magic.

        All three MFCs are by Brother and are standard issue office products that can also be purchased at Staples, Office Depot or online at Amazon. One was on $90 (ink jet) and the other two are network attached laser printers.

        The six months or so of going paperless can be painful because you are shedding old habits while establishing new ones,. After that, it is a cinch.

        One other thing: you MFC or scanner will come with software to perform the scan function. I happen to use Adobe Acrobat Pro but then again, I use the scanner extensively in my business so maximum efficiency is important.

        Perhaps I should write about all of this over at Backdoor Survival or more likely, next month at Strategic-Living.

        — Gaye

        1. Hi Gaye, Thanks for your response. Great topic for Strategic Living– Will link to you when you do!

  3. I have gone paperless in the past and bailed. If you don’t have it in your hand, you don’t have it, so I would rather have a small folder with my papers than have to worry about finding a computer with enough battery power so I could access my files during a disaster/power outage. In situations like that, there are enough things to worry about.

    1. Susan, that is one of my worries about going paperless, not being able to access the file due to no power.

  4. I use both paper and paperless. All are retrievable on line but I like to keep hard copies too. As long as I have a computer and electricity…no EMP or power outage then I can look at the files. It’s a good system to keep a paper copy and it sure makes it easy if someone has to take over your bills for a month or two. I think I will write more about this tonight, too. Thanks for the topic!

    1. Sounds like having both paper and electronic backup is working for you Whatifitstoday. I will be sure to check your next post!

  5. We have a mix of both (which is a pain!) but I’m not convinced about paperless. If we need something (thats on paper) I can lay my hands on it within minutes due to my filing system and so could any member of the family if I were taken ill.
    Online requires me to have password etc so it makes it harder for my family to access anything in a emergency and as we found out recently sometimes bills get missed. We had an email about our electric bill, which we were meant to go online and get but we didn’t do it immediately and then we forgot. Opps, the bill wasn’t paid in time. That won’t happen again!

    1. Hey Sue, Me too. I have electronic back up now, but paper still has its advantages. Filing is a pain, but anyone can figure out where to find stuff when I am not home. For now anyway.

  6. My brain just doesn’t work that way… I have over 1000 unread emails in my webmail (mostly store advertisements). Email does not mean I’ll pay the bills. An onsite notification that I have to check myself? won’t happen. I need something physical in my hand. It’s hard enough to remember to pay the rent without an actual bill! I suppose someday I’ll HAVE to convert (against my will) & I guess then I’ll have to print out the email when I get it & treat it like a paper bill. So as far as saving trees it won’t help at all. All it’ll do is put the postman out of work.

    That being said… when I got robbed & they took my paper statements, it was a nice option to go online to pay them then getting hit with a late fee…

    1. Hi pups_pals, I do like the online bill pay, for the convenience. But I have the paper statements come in to remind me. I too get a lot of emails, there is always a chance something will fall through the cracks. Thanks for the comment!

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