Paper vs. Electronic Statements
Which statements are better for your finances?
When it comes to managing your finances, the best resource you have is your monthly financial statement. This contains all the information you need to know, including your past expenses, bills paid, spending trends and even whether there is any fraudulent activity in your account.
With so many financial institutions offering online banking and electronic statements, you may be wondering whether switching to electronic statements is the right move for you. Here is some information to help you make the right decision for you and your finances.
Electronic financial statements contain the very same information as the paper statements that you receive in the mail, but there are a number of benefits to getting your statements electronically versus sticking to your paper statements, such as:
- Easily accessible information. Your financial institution most likely makes past statements available online, so you can access them at any time.
- Reduced risk of security breach. By not having your statement sent by mail, you’re limiting the risk of identity theft that could occur should someone steal your statement.
- Convenience and speed. Electronic statements are instantly delivered to your email, so you don’t have to wait four to five days for that paper statement to travel by mail.
- Flexibility to switch at any time. If for any reason you decide that electronic statements aren’t working for your lifestyle, you can easily opt back to receiving paper statements at any time.
- Free. Most, if not all, financial institutions make receiving electronic statements entirely free.
Eleanor Laise of The Wall Street Journal notes that many consumers are switching to paperless accounts because so many electronic services have been made available recently.
“Financial firms stand to save substantial sums in printing and mailing costs when customers manage accounts online,” Laise says. “The firms say consumers also benefit because paper-free transactions are more environmentally friendly and better protected from fraud.”
However, Laise goes on to note that going paperless can raise concerns, such as the following, for certain individuals:
- Limited archives. Although past statements can be accessed online, there may be a limit as to how far back statements are archived.
- Unimproved security. Although financial institutions employ strict security standards, going paperless may not be much safer than getting paper statements.
- Contact information problems. Email addresses tend to change, sometimes emails are sent to spam folders and other issues can occur that may impede the receipt of your electronic statements.
When it comes down to it, only you can decide whether paper statements or electronic statements are better for you. Take some time to evaluate your financial needs and determine which option suits you better.