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This gives me a sense for how much a financial institution wants people to switch away from paper statements:
Win A Windfall With Online Statements
$10,000 Grand Prize, Plus 50 $1,000 Winners
Switch to online-only statements by November 16, and you'll be automatically entered for a chance to win in our sweepstakes.
I like the idea of online statements and bills because I hate filing and don't like the waste of paper. But for important stuff like utilities and financial records, I'm continuing to insist on paper. My reason is that if something happened to me so that I couldn't monitor them myself, then someone else would have to know and keep track of all the accounts and all the passwords for checking whether bills were due and checking the financial statements. It seems a lot easier for such a person if the stuff comes in the mail.

If you've chosen to switch away from paper statements and bills, have you put any measures in place to deal with this issue? If so what have you done?


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2009 12:50 am (UTC)
Like you, I continue to receive paper utility bills, credit card statements, and bank statements, even though I pay all of my bills, except my rent, online.

My main reason has more to do with the way that, for me, receiving the physical item serves as a better "to do" reminder than an email notice does, but I also think it would make it easier for, whoever, in the case of an emergency involving me, to deal with those things.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
I have as much as possible set up as a direct credit(1) or failing that, a direct debit, which reduces the chance that I'll miss a payment (having a paper bill is not for me a guarantee against "Oh yes, I'll post that tomorrow"). I don't think I have any regular payments at the moment that I need to pay manually.

So paper bills for me are just a waste of postage and paper. My electricity bill now comes as an emailed link / reminder to check online, which is nice. Ironically my internet bill steadfastly remains paper.

(1) My credit card is paid off each month as a direct debit, so I don't pay interest on it. The advantage of paying by credit is that I get reward points, which from time to time can be turned into, say, a breadmaker.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Let's see. In the past two months we've been hacked twice, once a minor social-networking password, once a credit card. Of course I want my only access to our financial data to be online.

I've specifically told the financial people who bother listening that I will not make account transactions online, and to fire up the fraud alarms if I appear to do so.

Not really interested in saving all those folks a buck or two a month so that they can shift a pile of security risk to me. If they really wanted to do electronic delivery, they could use their current channels to give me a key and send stuff encrypted. But go to their web site, nuh-uh.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 02:48 am (UTC)
I'll go paperless when my creditors quit putting in a lot of fine print about how I am totally responsible for paying my bills even if their website goes down and stays down. I need a piece of paper with the due date and the amount due and the phone number to call, in that case. If they want to save some money they can stop paying their CEOs so much.

Your objection is a cogent one, I think, and something that I hadn't thought of.

Oct. 3rd, 2009 03:17 am (UTC)
I have thought about this. I recently came across an article that discusses this very thing and has a form to fill out: http://www.mrsmicah.com/2009/08/31/how-to-save-and-store-critical-financial-information-for-your-family/

I haven't filled out the form yet, but I think it's very thorough. I plan to fill it out and give it to a couple of different family members.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Uh, no. I'd better set something up.

I'm thinking of giving my SO and one sibling an In Case of Death file with the account info and such. Maybe some passwords, although those change since I can't remember them.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
I'd call it In Case of Death or Incapacity.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
i still get paper statements, but not for that reason -- i simply do better paying things when i have the statements in my physical inbox. i have no idea why, and it irks me a little, since i am otherwise doing as much on the computer as i can (i do pay online as well).

i've got all our financial information in an encrypted file, more than one copy, stored offline and off-site. what we haven't done yet, is to give one copy to an executor, in case both the paramour and i bite the dust at once (the *poing* and i have separate finances).

Edited at 2009-10-03 04:17 am (UTC)
Oct. 3rd, 2009 07:29 am (UTC)
My friend tried using his bank's 'bill pay' service to automatically pay some utility accounts. There was a mistake and he had TWO bureacracies to deal with. And the bank had the money tied up so he couldn't even take cash to the utility office.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
I have yet to switch away from paper statements.

But, I have set up autopayment from my bank accout to cover our regular bills in full, and a reasonable minimum payment for the credit cards. This way, it buys a few weeks of extra time before poo+fan.

If I knew the estatements would be in a pseudo-open format like pdf, then I'd switch. But, none of the places actually tell you this important fact. And when I've asked, none of the reps know.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
I do as much as possible online, but I have a paper file containing my will and a set of instructions for what to do in the event of my death, including how to get probate and the account details and contact numbers for all the accounts. Armed with that information and a grant of probate, my executors would be able to contact all the companies and either switch back to paper billing, or get their own logins. The passwords are not written down anywhere.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
I pay everything but the taxes online, but I get paper statements/bills. I don't have anybody to take care of things, and a divided folder would help them a lot if I'm sick that long.
Oct. 11th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
I used to have online statements. Then I missed a notice saying "we're going to jack up your rates because you've paid every bill ever on time but we don't like your current ratio of debt to available credit, so if you don't mind going to a rate of 389.9% just ignore this message". (hi bofa)

After filing a BBB report saying I hadn't seen the message they agreed to revert to the former rate and close the account.

If they can solve little issues like that, and guarantee that I will always forever have complete history of my documents available for all accounts open or closed, then I may consider going back.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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