Can You Live a Completely Paperless Lifestyle?

by Jason Unger

As you spend more time banking online and paying your bills online, you’ll realize that getting paper statements just seems outdated.

Why do you need to get snail mail from your bank or service provider when you have access to a digital archive of all your actions?

You don’t.

Living a completely paperless financial lifestyle, however, is easier said than done. You may worry about not having your own copy of your bill. Or that you’re reliant upon your provider for access to your statements.

As someone who has lived paperless for the past 3 years, I can tell you that it’s possible. If I ever have a question about my statements or bills, I pull them up online.

Bank statements are definitely the least important to have. In today’s age of online banking, you can get a real-time look at your bank account whenever you want (and thanks to mobile banking, wherever you want).

Monthly bills like cable, Internet and phone can all be accessed online. If you’re the type to want to have copies of all your bills, log on each month, get your bill, and save it as a PDF on your computer. You’ll have your own digital archive.

3 Paperless Options Beyond Your Bills

But beyond your monthly bills and statements, can you go completely paperless financially?

Here are three more ways to go paperless:

Scan and Deposit Your Checks — Some banks, like USAA’s Deposit@Home, allow their members to take the checks they need to deposit, scan them on their home scanner, upload them to the Internet, and then deposit them into their account. It’s not a widely offered feature among banks, but it’s available to some.

Send Paper Checks — Some checking accounts, like ING Direct’s Electric Orange, offer the ability to send paper checks online. They write the check, pay for the stamp and lick the envelope — you simply put in the amount and who it’s going to.

Transfer Money Online — If you need to make a payment to someone online, services like PayPal connect to your bank account, grab the money and transfer the funds to another person online. While PayPal charges a fee, your bank may have a similar option for sending money to people who also are members.

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