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Paperless Statements Not Always Best Choice, Says New Report 167

HughPickens.com writes: Ann Carrns reports at the NYT that despite a push by financial institutions to switch customers to digital statements from paper, the traditional hard-copy version may work better for some people, in particuar particular, older, less educated and lower-income consumers who may lack fast Internet connections at home. According to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center, even consumers who know the Internet may simply prefer paper, because statement notifications can easily be overlooked in a deluge of email. Also unlike paper statements, which can be neatly collected and filed away, going paperless on multiple accounts will mean having that information scattered under different user names and passwords. You may also be surprised to learn you have to pay for copies of some older statements. "If you have a system for organizing your paper statements, you should think about how that's going to translate online," says Jim Bruene. Finally you may not be able to go back as far with paperless statements. At Verizon, cellphone customers get up to 12 months of past statements. Customers can also request older statements dating back seven years for $5 per copy.

Under federal law, banks must obtain consent from consumers to deliver statements electronically. But banks are sometimes aggressive in encouraging customers to opt out of receiving paper statements. Last summer, holders of some Chase credit cards received pop-up ads when they logged into their accounts online, asking them to switch to electronic statements. The notice said "Action Required," even though no action was necessary if cardholders simply wanted to continue receiving paper statements. The screen showed buttons for "accept" and "manage my preferences," but not for "decline."
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Paperless Statements Not Always Best Choice, Says New Report

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  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday March 05, 2016 @10:21AM (#51643335)

    "the traditional hard-copy version may work better for some people, in particuar particular, older, less educated and lower-income consumers who may lack fast Internet connections at home. "

    For bank statements a 1200/300 baud phone connection should be sufficient.

    As long as I don't have to pay for it, I don't care if they send the manager over to their home to tell them what they have in their account.

    My bank has 5 years of online statements available, so I download all of them for the past year when I do my taxes, since I need them anyway then.

    In the last 3 years I have been twice to a bank to get foreign currency, the only thing that I can't do online and the only people who were there were oldsters with a plastic bag full of invoices that they wanted the clerk to transfer money to, but they have to pay 3,5€ for each of those, so I don't care.

    My bank had previously 20 tellers, now they have 1 information girl and 1 teller on a simple desk, that's it, the banks of our fathers are dead.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @10:29AM (#51643363)

      For bank statements, or any other official correspondence, what I really need is a (a) complete, (b) permanent record that is (c) automatically and (d) reasonably securely moved to be (e) 100% under my control.

      So far, the only way that happens is if they mail me paper copies. It is remarkable that we have yet to solve this apparently simple problem with a more technologically sophisticated alternative, but until we do, I will continue to opt out of getting statements [only] electronically.

      • by zm ( 257549 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @12:54PM (#51643911) Homepage

        For bank statements, or any other official correspondence, what I really need is a (a) complete, (b) permanent record that is (c) automatically and (d) reasonably securely moved to be (e) 100% under my control.

        So far, the only way that happens is if they mail me paper copies. It is remarkable that we have yet to solve this apparently simple problem with a more technologically sophisticated alternative, but until we do, I will continue to opt out of getting statements [only] electronically.

        If only someone invented a device that can be used to make a hardcopy of a document that is available online, your problem would have been solved.

        • But I don't just want "available online". That's the point. I also want automatically and reasonably securely delivered, so I always have a permanent copy of everything in the event of any dispute or audit.

          When we have a system that gives me an effectively 100% safe electronic document vault, into which any service I use can push their statements, terms updates, etc. in some readily accessible and future-proof format, and over which they have no other control or influence, then we can talk.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          To strip away the humour, every bit of data that is considered essential should be in hard copy because all it will do is take one major solar storm to completely fuck up the current system for quite some time, in fact months to fix up and get running again. Those stupid enough to not prepare for this will end up suffering enormously, starvation, break down of society and policing and collapsed infrastructure. Now this is not a matter of if but when and when could be tomorrow or decades from now. Every ess

          • by Whibla ( 210729 )

            To strip away the humour, every bit of data that is considered essential should be in hard copy because all it will do is take one major solar storm to completely fuck up the current system for quite some time, in fact months to fix up and get running again. Those stupid enough to not prepare for this ...

            I think the preparation for that scenario is called a back-up, and 99.9% of large organisations, especially those dealing with your financials, have multiple modes of such.

            In contrast, when talking about personally held paper statements and other important documents all it will take is one house sized fire to completely fuck up the system. As I think about it, if my house burned down I'm not entirely sure I'd even be able to remember which insurance company to contact about making a claim, and I'd certainly

      • So far, the only way that happens is if they mail me paper copies.

        Or you could use a PRINTER to make a hardcopy only when you need it, which 99.9% of the time, is NEVER.

        I have been paperless for years, and never, not once, have I needed a paper copy of a bank statement. When I refinanced my house, I just emailed the PDFs to the mortgage company.

        • So instead of having a copy already available to file, I should instead remember to go onto the web site of every service I use that provides statements, at the correct time each month, manually download that statement, and then save it somewhere completely safe and/or manually print it at my own expense?

          I'm not seeing how your way is better.

          • I should instead remember to go onto the web site of every service I use that provides statements, at the correct time each month

            My bank keeps statements online for two years. I download them annually, when I start working on my taxes.

            manually download that statement

            ... which takes less time than opening an envelope and filing a paper in the right physical folder.

            then save it somewhere completely safe and/or manually print it at my own expense?

            An SSD automatically backed up by an encrypted offsite archive, such as Dropbox, is far safer than a paper copy.

            I'm not seeing how your way is better.

            You should talk to my dad. He thinks the web is fad, and it is just a matter of time till everyone realizes how silly it is and goes back to mailing paper letters written in cursive. I think t

            • My bank keeps statements online for two years. I download them annually, when I start working on my taxes.

              You leave your bank in control of the only records of your account for up to a whole year? You're a lot braver than I am.

              Then again, I'm guessing you also haven't been the victim of an administrative screw-up that left officials you were dealing with refusing to believe anything you said for a few months, even though their own version of what was happening could not possibly have been correct. That sort of incident will make you pretty conservative when it comes to trusting others with important records.

              ... which takes less time than opening an envelope and filing a paper in the right physical folder.

              You

        • Or you could use a PRINTER to make a hardcopy only when you need it, which 99.9% of the time, is NEVER.

          Or you could get the BANK to use a printer to make a hardcopy and post it to you at their expense, so all you need is to pop it into the filing cabinet.

          I often refer to past bank statements - only yesterday I needed to check what I paid by debit card for something I bought 11 months ago, for which I was claiming my money back under guarantee. Depending on your bank, but mine does not make it easy to see back past the current month and it is much faster to flick through paper copies anyway.

      • For bank statements, or any other official correspondence, what I really need is a (a) complete, (b) permanent record that is (c) automatically and (d) reasonably securely moved to be (e) 100% under my control.

        Why?

        No seriously in the last 20 years I've been asked for a bank statements a handful of times, when buying a house, and as court evidence. Both accepted copies of the electronic statements. Even if they didn't the bank is required to keep the records and present them when requested for a tiny fee.

        It's just not as important of a document that you make it out to be.

        • I guess I just haven't been as lucky. I've had a few disputes over the years with organisations whose records were "not entirely accurate". In some cases the data had blatantly changed, and while I might be willing to believe it was due to an error in their systems and not deliberate corruption, either way they can't argue with original printed records sent to me at the time something actually happened. Sometimes a business has been known to forget that although it had updated its terms recently, the deal w

    • by mh1997 ( 1065630 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @10:58AM (#51643429)
      I was sued by a local business in small claims court. I brought in a printed copy of the electronic statement from my bank billpay with confirmation codes showing that I sent the online payment (the bank then cut a paper check and mailed it, the business was not set up for electronic payment). I also had a copy of the hard-copy, mailed statement from my bank with the same information. The judge did not accept my printed copy, he thought it was too easily faked. He did accept my hard-copy mailed statement from the bank and I won my case. This was small claims court, the rules are different than in other courts.
      • by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @06:37PM (#51645493)

        The judge did not accept my printed copy, he thought it was too easily faked. He did accept my hard-copy mailed statement from the bank

        In the UK, bank statements printed off the Internet are not generally acceptable legally. However, that does not stop the banks and building societies from nagging us to "Go paperless". Here is an example from the Coventry Building Society. Under Identification Requirements [coventrybu...iety.co.uk] to open an account, it says among the documentation required :

        Bank/building society statement less than 3 months old (not from Coventry Building Society) and not printed off the internet - original document [My emphasis]

        . Yet elsewhere on the website (and on statements) it says :

        If you are registered for Online Services .... why not switch to paperless statements?

        Hypocrites.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        The judge did not accept my printed copy, he thought it was too easily faked.

        I'll bet the judge turns around and allows faxed documents as 100% reliable and can't be faked either. I don't know of a company these days that has an actual fax machine either. It's all done via software and when printed sent directly to the floor printer.

      • The judge did not accept my printed copy, he thought it was too easily faked. He did accept my hard-copy mailed statement from the bank and I won my case. This was small claims court, the rules are different than in other courts.

        I had the opposite experience. But that's beside the point. The evidence is available whenever required. Banks are legally required to keep all documentation related to the service they provide you. If I call up my bank and ask for a 30 year old bank statement, they need to provide it. That doesn't mean I want them to send it out to me every month, and even back when they did I kept it for my tax liability period only (5 years worth).

    • Every time i go to Union Station in L.A., i look over to the empty bank teller section and a little part of me dies inside. Its such a huge symbol of a bygone era.

      http://travelswithmaitaitom.co...

      You can see what it looked like when it was in full-operation in Catch Me If You Can. Edit: For some reason Slashdot wont make the link hot.
    • For bank statements a 1200/300 baud phone connection should be sufficient.

      It should be, but just about every website has so much javascript running on it that very few websites would be usable through a 1200/300 baud phone line.

    • My bank has 5 years of online statements available, so I download all of them for the past year when I do my taxes, since I need them anyway then.

      So you spent half an hour downloading them. I just pulled my paper copies from my filing cabinet.

      In the last 3 years I have been twice to a bank ... and the only people who were there were oldsters with a plastic bag full of invoices that they wanted the clerk to transfer money to,

      WTF has this got to do with paperless statements? I have paper statements and have not been inside my bank for about 15 years (since I moved to a new area). I do not even know offhand where it is now, as I did receive a notice that it had moved too.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      For bank statements, paper copy works better for *me*. I don't trust on-line security, so I will not set up on-line access to my bank account, and that means I can't get on-line statements.

      I'm sure that with a decent bank all the transactions that don't involve the exchange of physical money can be handled on-line. Now convince me that it can be done safely. There were several SSH vulnerabilities last year, and I'm rather sure I've heard of one this year, though it might just be an old one that nobody bo

    • OMG, a 300 baud modem. I remember using the 14.4k baud up to 56k modems and things were downloading slow. Yes, a 56k baud dial-up with compression would be enough to download PDF files but I wouldn't really want to do it. You must really be sadistic if you want people to do it on a 300 baud modem! One of my latest utility statements would have taken over two hours to download with that.

    • Paper works fine. Shows up in the mail, then I pile it with the others for my records. For online it's a hassle. Search down an obscure password and url, navigate through an unfamiliar site, etc.

  • I don't need 15 secure places to login and get statements. The bank industry needs to get together to create a centralized secure statement repository where I can see it all. And maybe let my utilities pay to be delivered to this.

    Or they could fix their statements so they're not printing full account numbers and use regular email - I don't care. It's not that much more risky than postal mail. For that matter, if I could click a link and then type just my username and password, that would be nice too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would be happy with encrypted emails. So many of the security quandaries posed by encrypted email are either moot or already at least as bad in this case because the bank is already delivering the metadata not encrypted end-to-end (e.g. the title indicating a statement is ready for download, their name, your name). How hard would it really be for banks to setup encrypted email for those willing to setup S/MIME?

    • by gmack ( 197796 ) <gmack@inner[ ]e.net ['fir' in gap]> on Saturday March 05, 2016 @11:44AM (#51643617) Homepage Journal

      In Canada the postal company took care of it. It's called Epost and I can file everything there.

    • "For that matter, if I could click a link and then type just my username and password, that would be nice too."

      Specifically, that would be nice for fishing your username and password.

      • And how is that more of a risk than the typical link to the home page? Deep linking doesn't add to that.

        Plus, I know how to read an address bar. There are so many better ways to do this that are still better than paper and also electronic. It's just not being done.

  • I like both paper and digital copies. Both have advantages.
    • No Problem At All (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2016 @10:43AM (#51643391)

      I like both paper and digital copies. Both have advantages.

      Exactly. I continue to require paper statements be mailed to me. I refuse to allow ANY communication via email. But, I happily use the online services including check images and statements when i choose to.

      The very moment that anyone even implies that paper is old, useless, wasteful, for the less educated(really?), lower income... I immediately label them inexperienced and clueless morons. That they think that their smartphone is secure or the only window to the rest of the world shows them for what they are. Idiot kids, that will whine like babies when their system collapses.

  • going paperless on multiple accounts will mean having that information scattered under different user names and passwords.

    Which is then collected [lastpass.com] again under one username and password.

    • by Kazymyr ( 190114 )

      Wasn't lastpass recently the victim of at least a successful breakin and several phishing campaigns? Yes, I will definitely trust it with all my accounts.

      • Which is why I don't use an app that stores it all on a server. The program that I use is called Codebook though it used to be called STRIP. Been using it for a long time. It was on the Palm before the iPhone.

  • Worse issue (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 05, 2016 @10:30AM (#51643375)

    Is entities (some of them governamental) requiring statements of 3rd party accounts (electrical, water, gas, bank, etc) for allowing things like residence address change.

    And then, if you print yourself the statement from the pdf that those entities provide, they don't accept it.

    Perhaps, if those entities, if they only provide electronic documents, they should be forced to have a way to validate such documents.

    I believe PGP already did something like that for emails...

    • I just renewed my license and the DMV specifically allowed printouts of electronic statements for the 2 required proof of address documents (for the idiotic federal ident bit).

  • The mail that rhymes with a mollusc has been beaten up in the modern age by facsimile, email, text, and all manner of twitter;

    But, there are still useful applications for the slower delivery of tangible paper reproductions, including many legal documents and even holiday cards.

    You may have also noticed that when people are free to speak quickly and repeatedly without careful thought, much of what escapes into the electronic noise is tripe.

    • A clam is a mollusk. Do you mean spam?
    • I don't want the USPS to stay around, I want digital signatures to be taken seriously. The USPS is primarily a spam-delivery outfit; the remaining work they do is delivering small packages for the other carriers, which is part of a wacky deal.

    • by nbauman ( 624611 )

      I think he means "snail."

      And I think he's either British or an English graduate student.

      • I think he means "snail."

        He thinks you're correct, but the clam joke was better.

        And I think he's either British or an English graduate student.

        Aw. That is the single nicest thing I've ever been called on /. Is this a trick?

  • by Irate Engineer ( 2814313 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @10:52AM (#51643417)

    The push to paperless statements has nothing to do about the customer's desires, or the "going green" hogwash they advertise on the envelopes. The companies are pushing for paperless because paying people to print them out, stuff them envelopes, and then paying postage for 100k's of customers every month is an regular expense that eats into their bottom lines. Automatically pushing out a pdf by email, or posting it on a server, costs pennies and doesn't require nearly as many employees to accomplish.

    This push is analogous to the self-scan checkouts at the supermarket. They're just trying to get rid of staff and get you to provide the service yourself.

    I will always get paper statements from Comcast and I will always pay the monthly bill with a nice paper check because that is the only way I can screw with the bastards.

    • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @11:28AM (#51643553) Homepage Journal

      Stupid efficiency, saving money and resources. I'll show them!

    • Automatically pushing out a pdf by email, or posting it on a server, costs pennies and doesn't require nearly as many employees to accomplish.

      A large part of the issue for me is that the electronic copy they provide is vastly inferior. The companies I deal with make it convoluted to download statements from their website. They use non-standard formats. They have buggy interfaces that don't function in Firefox. It is difficult to download multiple statements at once. And they rarely offer statements older than 12 months. That print statement will still be file away 18 months from now if I have some sort of computer failure, but may be diffi

      • This.

        I agree with you entirely. Although my bank claims to make statements available for 7 years, immediately after one of my credit cards was suspended due to fraud, I wasn't able to log in and see any transactions. Paper copies don't have this problem.

        • This.

          I agree with you entirely. Although my bank claims to make statements available for 7 years, immediately after one of my credit cards was suspended due to fraud, I wasn't able to log in and see any transactions. Paper copies don't have this problem.

          Yes, and if you are a victim of identity theft, your paper statements will be your salvation. You will be unable to prove who you are and thus unable to access any of your online accounts.

          • by nbauman ( 624611 )

            Oh great. Once you have a problem and need access to your records, your access to your records disappears.

            Which is like saying all your records disappear.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      They're just trying to get rid of staff and get you to provide the service yourself.

      I guess it depends on whether you think the service person is actually adding value to the process. I hated the bank tellers of old, it was an office I had to get to in their limited opening hours with a line I'd have to stand in to get to a person who'd mostly just do exactly what I just told him to do like deposit money, withdraw money, pay the bills and whatnot. I switch to an online-only bank in 2000 and never looked back, suddenly I had 24x7 service from anywhere at better prices. And where other bank

    • Yes, and they don't really save THAT much money compared to how much money in time hassle and opportunity cost that it costs the customer. They don't actually have staff print that stuff out and stuff envelopes. That is all done by machine. The postage for presort is much less than the price of a stamp. in truth, a large bank may save a few hundred thousand a year by going paperless. Their customers, however, will have expenses in the millions for their own hassle, record retention, paper costs, printing (i
  • I really don't care if it's not completely private that I pay comcast $72 a month.

    Just don't provide any links to pay it in the email, so you don't get people even more prepared to be phished.. People can manaully go to comcast.net or use their bank's bill pay system.

     

  • Eureka, retired people without a computer prefer direct mail, and young people who travel and change domiciles prefer PDF. Surely there is a Nobel Prize waiting somewhere.
    • "Eureka, retired people without a computer prefer direct mail, and young people who travel and change domiciles prefer PDF. Surely there is a Nobel Prize waiting somewhere."

      What did you expect from HughPickens, he posts just to attract people to his site.

  • I print out all of my emails, index them, and file them away. Except the spam of course. Wadded up and straight into the trash can with those.

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @11:23AM (#51643527) Journal

    For years, one of my banks wanted me to go paperless, while not offering anything similar to statements. I could only view transactions on a page (a page that did not print properly).

    Then, the bank stated offering PDF downloads. However, when my credit card was suspended due to fraud, I could no longer log in and view that account.

    Recently, when preparing for taxes, I downloaded the PDF statements. But getting to each statement took far too many clicks.

    What is so hard to understand about the idea that I want 100% reliable and easy access to statements that look like paper statements?

    • If your bank doesn't offer to simply email you the statement, which should not contain sufficient information to impersonate you to the bank anyway, then they are failing.

    • What was really fun was when I needed a statement from 3 years back that I had lost in a move to resolve a dispute with a creditor who claimed I hadn't paid a bill. No problem, my bank keeps all those online, or so I thought. I logged in, found the statement, clicked to download the PDF and... "This statement is not currently available. Please wait up to 2 weeks while we retrieve it from our records." WTF? 1TB HDDs were $100 (at the time), and they're archiving records onto tape after just 2 years?
      • Maybe they think you will download your statement when you go to check it each month to make sure that it's correct. I don't know what it is where you are but I only have 30 days to report any errors or else they assume it's correct. And since I've caught a couple of errors (over 25 years mind you) I make sure that I check my statements, especially for the bank and credit cards.

        • by nbauman ( 624611 )

          My mother was a bookkeeper.

          She said she never caught the banks in a mistake until the computers came in.

          • That's quite possible.

            But before computers came in a lot of the transactions were done in person so you would catch any errors right away before they would make it into the system. For example if a teller made an error on a slip you would verify it before signing it. Or if you made an error the teller would verify it before entering it. Now it goes into the system and it can gets a correction if caught or else you have to check your statement.

            The other thing is that products are much more complex than the

            • by nbauman ( 624611 )

              Yes, and before computers, accountants had clever systems in place (since 14th century Italy) to catch mistakes. That's why they use double entry.

              Here's an example of how a doctor (and hospital pharmacist, and nurse) made a mistake on a computer that almost killed somebody, which they almost certainly wouldn't have made before computers.

              http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03... [nytimes.com]

              At my own hospital, in 2013 we gave a teenager a 39-fold overdose of a common antibiotic. The initial glitch was innocent enough: A doctor f

              • The financial system still uses double entry accounting. Just because you don't see it on your statement doesn't mean it isn't happening on the back-end.

                • by nbauman ( 624611 )

                  I know. I set up my own double-entry bookkeeping system by reading an accounting book and writing a set of spreadsheets. Started with Lotus, ported to Excel.

                  It was a book on corporate accounting. It might have been overkill to follow the instructions to get a system designed for a Fortune 500 company, but it was educational.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      "too many clicks"? That sounds like a personal problem.
    • by fhage ( 596871 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @02:16PM (#51644205)
      When opening any account that may generate taxable income, I always ask; "Will you send me a summary tax statement at the end of each year?"

      Lately, the reply is "Yes! After you register and create an account, just log in and then swipe right on the PersonalServices emoji floating on your landing wall, pin "MyDocuments" to the Selector area, zoom out, scroll down, and long tap the individual statement in the list. You'll get a Special Offers flyer while you wait for your statement to be 'retrieved'. After it's done, the down arrow shaped cloud in the bottom right corner will turn gold so you can swipe it. Be sure to get our free app in the play store which provides you an EyeView and can squirt the doc to your tax app. If you still want to use a PC, click on the steam punk binocular icon, located on the PS wall to bring up the MyTeller IE plugin ..."

      Me:That's nice, but I'd prefer we exchange public keys so you can send me signed statements in PDF form via email, that only I can open. I have several popular forms of U2F keys as well as my public key files on a USB stick.

      Them: "We can't do that because email is not safe. That's how computers get infected."

    • "Easy Access" means you want 5-7 years of documents. You probably also want to be able to Generate them on the fly. Now, multiply that by millions and millions of customers and add the fact that just about everybody wants them on the same day (with a huge spike in April for the US) and you've got a huge headache on your hands. Then add the complexity of generated corrected statements and multiple accounts and the real fun begins.
      • Now, multiply that by millions and millions of customers and add the fact that just about everybody wants them on the same day (with a huge spike in April for the US) and you've got a huge headache on your hands.

        1. Disk space is cheap. They could be created and stored
        2. Even with the infrastructure needed to generate on the fly, the cost will be less than stuffing and mailing envelopes. Excessive greed at the banks when trying to save costs is probably costing them money. Don't try to save so much per cu

  • This just is: not everything is great for everybody!
    News at eleven.
  • So I want a local copy, not trusting the company to provide access when (possibly years later, or after I terminate my account), but I'm not a web developer so coding up a script to log into each of my accounts and authenticate via whatever wacky scheme they've come up with this month to try to make it harder to phish their customers, and then find any new statements and download them automatically.

    Turns out there's a perfect solution to this: email. If it's good enough for a password reset, it should be go

    • It doesn't really matter that much if the statement is signed; you can always just log into online banking and retrieve the statement manually if you suspect its contents. Not that I'm against a crypto signature...

  • What about email? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @02:25PM (#51644255)

    For me, the main problem with paperless statements is that they don't email you the statement - they require you to login to some website (with a name/password you might not remember), then navigate around the site until you find the statement, then download it. That's a real pain. I would much prefer to see a new email in my inbox, click on it to read it, then press "Archive" and be able to search for it (by company name) whenever I wanted in the future.

    I understand the reasons for this - email has historically been insecure. But nowadays major email providers like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft all use STARTTLS. So there should be no obstacle to sending statements and notices by email to most people's addresses.

    • STARTTLS only prevents the case where a 3rd party grabs the data in transit. It does nothing to ensure that it was sent it to the right place. The post has mechanisms that at least theoretically will forward physical mail when you move, but if someone has to change email providers there is no equivalent.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @02:35PM (#51644315)
    Then, after a few years, I closed the account. After the account was closed, I lost access to all of the account statements that were online, and I had no paper versions. Fortunately, the broker was able to recover the statements and send me paper copies. But it was a hassle.

    .
    Now I download the pdf statement for my important accounts each month and store them in my archive.

  • I do all my banking and brokerage online, but I print statements first so I can reconcile, and then file them in case the IRS ever needs to see it.

  • by kencurry ( 471519 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @03:45PM (#51644681)
    I switched to Geico recently, and I do love their phone app. But the last few times I've needed to show my insurance card, the f**ing app wanted to force an update right then and there - so I couldn't get to the proof of insurance without a lot of dicking around. So, I went back to printing out the damn thing and keeping it in the glove box.
  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Saturday March 05, 2016 @05:38PM (#51645205) Homepage Journal
    I've had several accounts "cram" me into electronic statements by sneaking some wording in somewhere that if you look at a statement online or something that you are automatically enrolled in electronic statements. American Express did it to me, Best Buy did it to me. Then the problem is that they don't bother to send you statement reminders in email either, so at some point you just start getting calls from them asking why you haven't sent a payment and start racking up huge late fees.
    Even if they did send a statement, which they didn't, I checked spam and everything, it is not just the technically clueless who get the shaft, it is the technically competent as well. I get dozens of e-mails a day. If I get an email from a credit card, unless I am at that very moment prepared to deal with it and pay it, it is just going to get put on the back burner and ultimately forgotten. My paper bills sit in a pile on my desk, in date order and get dealt with.
    Also, paper statements are not available online forever. If the government comes after you, they can demand paperwork for in some cases 7 years, and in some cases, from the beginning of time. It is up to you to have that information available, and if you depend on your third parties to keep that for you, you are SOL. Basically you need to save a local copy electronically, or print it out and store. So they are outsourcing their cost of doing business to you without providing you a nice discount for performing their job for them.
    As far as banks go, I go to my bank about 3 to 4 times per week. Most of those are for deposits. Yes, my bank has a mobile deposit app. Yes, like most banks, they charge a convenience fee for something which is a convenience for them and an inconvenience for you. The tellers are still free, so I make my deposits in person at the bank, where the tellers all know me and personally greet me by name.
  • Organizing paper statements requires having a system, some kind of stack of folders, that allow you to find statements you want to find. If you can do that, you can also organize e-statements using folders on your hard drive. If you can't do that, your paper statements are probably a mess too.

    DON'T just trust the statement provider to keep them, download each statement each month as PDF and save it on your own hard drive. AND make sure you have backups! Statements aren't any good unless you hang on to t

  • I stopped using Citibank online when they stopped supporting Linux a couple of years ago.

    I decided that logging in with Linux (Knoppix) was more secure at that time than Windows.

    Citibank had a pretty good online system. (Not perfect, but if you were committed to digital, as I am, and you were willing to read the instructions carefully, do some trial and error, work with them, and call up their tech support number occasionally, it worked well.)

    I also decided that I had to use paper and digital in parallel, u

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