Beyond going green, there’s a new reason for opting-in to paperless billing. A recent study conducted by Fiserv, Inc. shows that customers who receive e-bills instead of paper bills are, “more likely to make on-time payments, and utilize online self-service rather than costly customer service calls,” according to The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch.
The study analyzed two million customers receiving electronic or paper bills and found that that those receiving e-bills were 22 percent more likely to make on-time payments when compared to paper bill recipients. Those receiving e-bills were also 64 percent less likely to call customer service, and they were more engaged with their finances overall.For many people, paying bills online is a no-brainer way to save time and resources, and most consider it an environmentally friendly decision. It’s estimated that if every American household went paper-free for bill-paying the environmental impact would include:
- Reducing solid waste in U.S. landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year
- Saving an estimated 18.5 million trees every year
- Curbing the release of greenhouse gases by 2.1 million tons a year (source)
Some hard-copy holdouts cite security concerns in not going paperless. But others are unable or unwilling to cross a psychological barrier. “I choose to get and pay my bills by mail because it feels more substantial to me,” says a 30 year-old colleague who otherwise recycles and reduces elsewhere in her life. “I just don’t think it’s my responsibility to go paperless if it makes me feel insecure.” Tell us what you think: Have you gone paperless? Have you found that it makes you a more responsible manager of your personal finances? Or are you a fan of paper bills who feels the risks don’t outweigh the rewards? Sound off here.
(A portion of this story was previously published as “Going Paperless” on The Responsibility Project on 11/7/08)