Like most people, I have had a bank account for years... decades. The monthly arrival of my paper bank statement was familiar and reassuring status of how much money I'd saved. Last week, I switched to paperless bank statements.
Nothing bad has happened with my bank accounts, even though IBM's data breach in February of 2007 exposed my personal data. My switch to paperless statements was about heeding the advice from a prior post. What has changed was my attitude about snail-mail. The benefits of going paperless:
- Fewer paper documents to shred
- Fewer paper documents to file and store at home
- Fewer documents in my home for an identity thief to steal
- Eliminated another source of pre-screened credit offers via snail mail, which identity thieves love to steal
- I can check my account balances anytime I want
The switch to paperless statements was relatively easy. The hardest part: I first had to call my bank to update my password since I had forgotten it. The easy part: I logged into my online account and checked the necessary option to switch to online-only statements, and then set up several e-mail alerts.
Alerts are a valuable tool to protect yourself against fraud and identity theft. If a fraudulent charge appears on my bank account, I want to know about it as soon as possible; not wait 30 days for a paper statement to arrive. My bank provides several alert options. I set up alerts to notify me about specific types of account transactions and deductions greater than a certain dollar amount, which I specified.
When I was done, I felt really good. I could check off another positive step on my list to protect myself and my identity. If your bank (and credit card issuer) doesn't provide you with options for paperless statements and a variety of alerts (e.g., e-mail, cellphone), then I suggest you consider switching to another bank.
Last, I'd like to wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday and weekend. I will resume posts on Monday after the long holiday weekend.