As companies and banks continue to expand their online payment features, customers are taking advantage of the convenience of paperless checking. Instead of dealing with the hassles of paper checks, many customers now prefer to go the paperless route. In fact, it's so popular that some wonder whether paper checks will no longer exist.
Many utility companies allow you to pay bills by depositing money directly via electronic payment. But you can also pay them through an online account with your bank. For one, banks encourage their customers to switch to paperless banking because it saves them money. But they're also sure to remind you that going online saves paper, which makes it an environmentally friendly choice. But beyond being the "green" choice, paperless checking is also popular with customers because it reduces paper clutter and waste in their home. You can avoid the cost and nuisance of ordering checks, buying envelopes and postage as well as keeping paper records.
Many customers are hesitant to make the switch because of the fear of online fraud, but fraud from paper correspondence and records is also a concern, and some say going electronic is actually safer. Another fear is losing electronic records from a computer crash. However, you can access online records through your bank's Web site from any computer, and you can also make sure to save your own important files on a backup drive. If you do that, and keep the backup drive in a safe place, this can be preferable to keeping paper records.
Another advantage to online paperless checking through your bank is that you may be able to link your bank account with personal finance software like Quicken. This can allow you to easily and automatically organize your finances.
However, many customers still like the reassurance of keeping a checkbook with them and relying on paper checking for some transactions. So, even as paperless becomes more popular, it's unlikely that paper checking will completely disappear anytime soon.
- Bruce, Laura. "Paperless checking: new to online banking." Bankrate.com. March 7, 2007. (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/chk/20070307_paperless_checking_a1.asp
- Consumer Reports. "Should You Go Paperless?" Consumer Reports. Last reviewed Sept. 2010. (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/personal-investing/should-you-go-paperless/overview/index.htm
- Todorova, Aleksandra. "Is It Time for You to Go Paperless?" SmartMoney. March 4, 2010. (Dec. 20, 2011) http://www.smartmoney.com/borrow/debt-strategies/should-you-go-paperless/