A paper trail in banking can be a chain of printed evidence of where a person has been and how he spent his money. It can show that payments were made, taxes were paid, and plans are well laid in investments and budgeting. Some individuals who are more set in their ways see paper as a literal trail, a way to ensure that nothing is lost and there's always a way to track how money comes and goes. Switching from a paper system to an online, paperless one takes a certain leap of faith and requires some knowledge and planning, but once the switch is made, it's hard to imagine ever going back to paper.
First among concerns may be "is it safe?" This is not just a question for those who bank with paper and a teller. Having a healthy fear of online banking is wise for all ages and income levels, but paper banking actually has its own concerning qualities and outcomes -- identity theft, lost retirement savings and other financial catastrophes happen in both paper and paperless transactions. Many of us have fears about losing money through cyberspace, and for some, cyberspace is as big and mysterious a place as outer space.
Another big question is, "why make the switch?" Is it just a way for the banks to make more money and for the individual to have to adjust to more technology whether they want to or not?
Switching to online banking has many advantages for both the bank and the person using the bank, and it is mostly safe if done smartly. You can save time, effort, trees, gas, space and often, your sanity by having access to all of your funds -- both coming and going -- anytime, anywhere with just an Internet connection and a password -- or seven.
If you're considering the switch from paper to online banking, try easing into it a step at time. We'll take some steps in the paperless direction, next.