Pros and cons of paperless billing
Still on the theme of wasting less paper, our challenge for “Change the world Wednesday” this week is to either switch to paperless billing or write about the positive benefits of using paperless billing.
We switched to paperless billing years ago for most things. Getting stuff through the post is one of my bugbears – have you noticed how you don’t just get the bill or invoice, you get some glossy advertising material too? It’s a way of sending junk without sending junk mail!
I now deal paperless for the following:
- Internet connection
- Mobile – I have pay as you go, so there are no bills
- Bank statements
- Water rates and insurance
- Internet hosting for websites
- Electric – I enter my meter readings online
Once a year I get paperwork through for various insurances such as car, house, contents and the mortgage statement, but I guess you need those. Although when I last renewed my car insurance I was asked whether I wanted everything on paper on via email. He said all they would send me as a hard copy would be the certificate!
With car tax, you can license your vehicle online now; but I’m unsure how I feel about that because I like to use my local Post Office for some things. Paperless billing is excellent for maintaining forests and reducing paper waste, but we do need to remember the future of our local services too.
Although online services are great, they are not without their problems. You need to be on the ball to make sure the right amount is taken each month. That ‘don’t worry, you don’t need to do anything, we’ll take your money on 28th Feb” isn’t completely stress free; you need to make sure things run smoothly and log in each month to check things out. This means remembering numerous URLs and different usernames and passwords. If your memory is anything like mine this isn’t always straight forward!
Also, if you need to speak to a person, some companies are making this more and more difficult, which can be extremely frustrating. By the time you’ve listened to numerous options, pressed the right button, waited in a queue whilst being given subliminal marketing via their latest advertising campaign, it can leave you feeling quite frazzled.
The upside is, companies save thousands of pounds from not using paper and envelopes and this is often passed on to the customer. For example, with my telephone line I save £15 a year.
Despite it’s occasional inconveniences, if paperless billing helps to stop a few trees being flattened and posted through my letterbox, I’m happy to oblige. It certainly makes my monthly filing a lot easier!
To Recap. Pros and cons of paperless billing:
- Save trees – 16.5 million trees can be saved in the US alone if all the nation’s households received and paid bills electronically.
- Some comapnies give you a discount for using paperless billing
- Your filing cabinet will be slim, svelte and you’ll save time filing!
- Using less paper reduces landfill waste, transportation costs and toxic air pollutants
- No more late payments which can result in charges
- Paperless communication makes it increasingly more difficult to speak to a real person when you need to
- Paperless billing is not convenient for everyone; those without a computer or the elderly for example
- Paperless billing means you don’t need to use the Post Office so much; where more small companies are going out of business, this can be a devestating loss, especially in remote areas.
- You need to keep on top of your daily in and outgoings to make sure you’ve been billed correctly.
- Easier to go overdrawn with automatic payments
What about you – have you made the switch to paperless billing or is it not convenient for you?