You can do almost anything on the internet, including paying your bills. However, there are still some people that are hesitant about doing their finances on the web. Here are all the pros and cons before you make the choice to switch to paperless billing.
Pro: It’s Better for the Environment
The average household can save so much paper by switching to paperless billing. It also saves the use of gasoline and greenhouse gas emissions to transport mail. If 20 percent of households made the switch to electronic, it would preserve 12,405 acres of forestland and take 325,722 cars off of the road. That’s just the saving of greenhouse gas emissions alone.
Con: You Might Miss Payments Easier
Getting a physical bill in the mail makes it easy to remember to pay it. You don’t have that with electronic billing. If the issuer of the bill emails you reminders, they could get caught in the spam filter and you won’t get the notification.
However, there are bill reminder apps that can make sure you don’t miss a payment. Also, make sure the bill issuer’s email address is added to your email address book. That way you can make sure you’re getting any notifications from them.
Pro: You Might Actually Avoid Late Fees
This sounds a bit contradictory, but electronic billing can help you avoid late fees. If you’re getting notifications, you know to pay right away. It’s also easier to click a few buttons to pay than it is to write out a check and take it to the mailbox.
If you want to make things even easier, there’s often an option to set up automatic billing. If you know you’ll have enough money in your account each month to pay the bill, this makes things a lot simpler. You don’t even have to worry about remembering to pay because it comes out by itself.
Con: There Are More Passwords to Remember
Signing up for online billing means creating yet another online account and another username and password you have to remember. It’s a bad idea to use the same ones on all your sites, no matter what they are. It’s even worse if it has to do with your financial information.
It’s a good idea to create a completely new username and password for financial things. This means you might have to use password recovery services frequently if you can’t remember the new password. Pick something that’s unique to what you would know and isn’t something others know about you.
Pro: Less Clutter
No mail and billing statements means less clutter to keep around your house. You won’t have to sort through all your bills and statements and figure out what you should keep and what you should throw away.
You can usually view at least several months of billing statements online, and you can download and print them if you really want to keep them for a longer period of time.
Con: Always Updating Account Information
With paper billing, you have to make sure they always have your current address. With paperless, they always have to have your current email address. If you used a school email that you’ll lose access to or you have to shut an account down, you’ll need to change it. Make sure you always keep it updated or you could lose access to your billing account altogether.
Pro: Saving Money
Stamps and envelopes are costly, and ordering checks can be too. With paperless billing, you don’t have to buy more of these items. Many companies offer incentives to switch to paperless billing as well. You could get cash or a credit on your next bill. Other companies offer entries into sweepstakes to win prizes. Companies also might penalize you if you don’t switch.
Con: Overdrafts From Automatic Billing
Many people that have paperless billing choose to enroll in autopay options. While this is a good way to avoid forgetting payments, it could be a problem if you don’t have enough money in your account when the bills come due.
If you have a lot of bills, try to stagger them so they don’t all come out at once, and make sure they coincide with your paydays. A lot of companies will allow you to request a certain pay date, especially if you have autopay.
Is paperless billing the right choice for you? Use these tips to help decide if you should make the switch.