The following is a guest post by Michael of CreditCardForum, a site for the best credit card reviews and discussion (or at least that’s what he strives for it to be). His most recent review was of the British Airways credit card.
From the 1910’s into the 1960’s, the price of postage was so cheap that a common practice was for college students to actually mail their laundry home to mom each week, rather than doing it themselves. Of course today, that would be insanely expensive. Just mailing out your monthly bills can cost you an arm and a leg, but saving stamps aren’t the only reason you should switch to paperless billing.
Let’s take a look at all the reasons why it makes the most sense.
Paper bills leave you vulnerable in multiple ways. Identity theft affects 9.9 million Americans per year, according to The Postal Service. Some of these cases occurred because an individual’s mail containing sensitive information was stolen from their mailbox. Just think about it – every bill you get in the mail is an opportunity for a crook to steal your account information.
If you get just get one bill per month for each of the following accounts – bank, credit card, power, gas and phone – over the course of 12 months that equals 60 opportunities where your private information could be compromised!
But the danger doesn’t stop at the mailbox… it also leads to the trash can. Dumpster-diving is a common technique for scammers to steal your identity. Every piece of sensitive mail, like a credit card bill, that isn’t put through a cross-cut shredder is yet one more opportunity for a con man to steal your identity.
For industrial activities, did you know that the paper and pulp industry ranks #3 for greenhouse gas output and #1 for water consumption?
According to PayItGreen.org, if just 20% of American households switched to paperless billing, each year we would reduce gasoline consumption by 102,945,600 gallons, avoid 1,960,402 tons of greenhouse gases, and save 1,811,275 trees. If you think that impact is significant, just imagine how great it would be if 100% of Americans switched to ebilling?
Avoid Late Fees
A staggering 23% of Americans incur late fees each year because of losing or misplacing their paper bills, according to Harris Interactive. However these late fees can be avoided 100% of the time by arranging automatic e-billing for your accounts. In Automatic Finances, you will learn the optimal strategy to have your bills paid automatically, so you never have to write a check again and never incur another late fee.
Not only do late fees cost you extra money, but many people aren’t aware of the fact that being just one-day late might adversely affect their credit record. Not all creditors report you to the bureaus when you are a just a few days late, but they do have the full right to do so (and many do exercise that right).
Furthermore, you may be surprised to learn that even if you are just a day or two late on a credit card payment, if it’s reported, it will show up as “30 days late” on your credit report. Why? Because any late payment between 1 and 30 days late is counted as being a full 30 days late. Automatic Finances will teach you how to safeguard against this from happening.
As demonstrated by the opening example, the price of postage has never been higher (even when you adjust it for inflation). One stamp is 44 cents. The average number of monthly bills per household is between 7 and 9, depending on the source you reference. That means the average American household is spending approximately $37 to $48 per year just to mail their payments.
But the savings potential doesn’t stop with stamps. Major companies such as Sprint, Chase bank, Discover and a countless number of others regularly run promotions whereas customers are given cash incentives to enroll in ebilling. In fact, a couple months ago when I signed up a new account with AT&T I was given a $10.00 Visa gift card for enrolling.
As Benjamin Franklin would say, time is money. In the fast-paced world we live today, that statement rings more true now than ever before. The less time you have to spend hassling with bills, the more time you have to work, relax, or whatever else your heart may desire.
Think about all processes involved with paying bills. First, you need to open the bills and sort through them. Second, you have to write checks, fill out the payment forms, and write your address on the envelopes. Third, you need to dispose of the actual bills safely and securely, which requires a cross-cut shredder (and most can shred only 2 to 5 pages at a time, so doing this can take a while). Fourth, you need to drive to the post office or a secure public mailbox to drop your bills in the mail.
Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid this headache altogether? Not only will Automatic Finances show you the secret, but you will also discover how to track and categorize all your spending with little to no effort. It’s the ultimate tool to streamline your money, smarter and automatically.