Green banking: Is it worth it?

According to this report from Javelin Strategy & Research, green banking habits are still lagging in the US with 3 out of 4 consumers continue to prefer paper statements.

The consulting firm offered five tips to make green banking for consumers as easy ‘as screwing in a CFL bulb‘:

Turn off paper statements. This is the easiest and most widely available way to make an immediate, substantial impact on your carbon footprint and lower your risk of identity fraud.

My take: True but what about online identity fraud? A lot of banks offer security for this but with a price. They should make this service free. Also, it may be hard to believe but there are people who do not have access to the internet or who do not like to do their banking transactions via internet (such as my parents). Another reason why paper statements are still popular is because it physically reminds them to read it and [or] pay their bills if applicable.

Switch to direct deposit. Cut off the paper trail that goes along with depositing paychecks. Bonus: In most cases, your money is deposited into your account earlier through direct deposit.

My take: For some, it is a pain in the neck to go to their Human Resources if they have to change their banking accounts or some such other issues (like when you got promoted and you want to hide your newly-found income to your significant other who has access to that direct deposit account).

Start using online banking. Checking your accounts online is not only convenient, but you can also significantly reduce waste by managing and paying bills online. Bonus: Save money on postage and reduce the possibility of identity fraud.

My take: See #1.

Skip the receipt and deposit envelope. Don’t take a receipt and instead, check your accounts online later or make a note of it immediately in your checkbook. Recently, many banks have installed ATMs that don’t require envelopes for deposits.

My take: Again, paper receipt reminded absent-minded/internet-hating people like some I know on what they did with their money. I also like to use envelopes for deposits because I hate thinking about my deposit check getting ripped by that little monster who lives inside an ATM machine…oh, they’re not real??

Try mobile banking. By signing up for mobile banking, you’re likely to cut down on trips to the ATM or local branch, which reduces pollution and saves you money on gas.

My take: Try explaining how to do mobile banking to my parents…

Now you know why I don’t blame consumers who opt for paper statements instead.

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