Paper Tools and Apps
Going paperless can still include a little bit if paper, or maybe, some good, recycled cardstock. At the start of the article, we mentioned sitting down with a banker to begin the switch to online banking, and it would seem a little empty to walk out of the bank armed with nothing but a head full of numbers, passwords and a Web site address. Banks can continue their marketing push to paperless bank by crafting some ready-reference helps that people can hold in their hands.
Having a pamphlet with instructions for logging on and reminders about passwords -- without the actual passwords printed anywhere, of course -- gives you just enough information to fall back on if you can't access an account or need to troubleshoot the bank Web site. Just as you record numbers to call for lost or stolen credit card and keep "in case of emergency" files for access to important papers or instructions as needed, having a backup plan for electronic glitches also gives peace of mind. Banks can and should help you manage and access your money even when the system goes down or you simply can't remember how to get started.
Having an app or staying in touch with e-mail tutorials and financial management tools and tips, for example, is another way banks can support customers as they let go of their paper files. An extension of online banking into app-based check deposits is just one way banks are supporting customer needs outside of the desktop and laptop.
Getting all of this for free would be great, too, and you can if you shop around and see what the banks will offer you by agreeing to forgo the paper statements. Cutting out the paper saves the banks money, but this doesn't always trickle down to the customer. At the very least, it shouldn't cost you to make the switch from paper to paperless. Whether it benefits in a monetary or interest-earning way will depend on the institution and your banking needs, among other factors.
For many who make the change, however, convenience and de-cluttering are payoff enough.
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