19 March 2018, 11:25

Paperless billing - good for the planet but bad for your wealth?

Research by GoCompare finds that 80% of UK consumers now receive at least one financial service and utility bill or statement electronically

4 out of 5 (80%) UK consumers now receive at least one paperless bill or statement for a financial product or utility, new research from GoCompare has found. However, the result for many has been increased hassle, lost bills and some wishing they’d never chosen to go paperless in the first place.

  • 33% of consumers say paperless bills are more hassle
  • 38% say they are more likely to open paper bills than paperless
  • 18% have forgotten log in details to access their paperless bills
  • 15% say paperless bills are easier to ignore

Energy companies appear to have been most successful at encouraging the take-up of paperless bills with many of the new and cheaper challenger providers only offering an online, paperless service and even those which offer the choice tending to discount the paperless servicing option. 80% of energy consumers said they receive paperless energy bills and not far behind are broadband and landline bills (78%) and then mobile phone bills at 73%.

Percentage of consumers who receive paperless bills for different services:

Service/utility

% who receive paperless bills or statements

Energy

80%

Broadband & Landline

78%

Mobile phone

73%

Bank statements

73%

Credit card statements

53%

Car insurance renewal

47%

Home insurance renewal

45%

Satellite TV /Streaming service

44%

Pensions, savings and investments

37%

Store cards

24%

Mortgage

19%

Pet insurance

17%

48% of consumers chose paperless billing because it was a greener alternative, whilst 36% chose it for the lower cost. 35% thought it would make managing their bills more efficient for record keeping and storage and 28% said that paperless billing was the only option available to them.

And while 41% agreed that going paperless had enabled them to engage with their finances more regularly, 33% said paperless is just more hassle because of having to remember log ins and passwords. 38% said they were more likely to open bills sent through the post and 18% admitted to having forgotten the log in details to view some of their bills and statements.

More worryingly, 15% of consumers said that paperless bills were easier to ignore than paper ones and 18% were worried that they were not keeping abreast of their finances with paperless billing. 10% of respondents had found paperless bills in their junk mail folders and 8% regret choosing paperless billing in the first place.

Georgie Frost, Consumer Advocate at GoCompare, commented:

“Paperless bills have become far more common over the last few years and most of us will have at least one electronic bill or statement. More often than not though, companies won’t email our bill directly, but email a link to a website where we have to login to see it, which is yet another password we have to remember! While it’s undoubtedly good for the environment, it’s not a surprise that so many people find it a hassle and would rather keep the old fashioned paper format.

“It’s so important though that we get into the habit of checking our bills and statements regularly – paper and paperless. It may seem dull, but you could miss something important if you don’t, like a mistake, an overcharge, changes to your product or service, or even fraud.

“You also need to get into the habit of checking your current account, credit and store card spending, as it can be all too easy to quickly run up a larger balance than you intended. It takes some organisation but regularly reviewing your bills and statements will ensure you’re still on the best tariff, interest rate or premium for your needs and to generally keep on top of where your money is going each month.”

Five top tips for managing paperless bills:

  • Get yourself organised. Set up a filing system for your paperless bills with folders on your pc for each account. 
  • When you sign up for a new paperless account, set up your online account straightaway. Find a safe way to create log-in details for new accounts and store them, that way you are more likely to log-in again and engage with the account.
  • Open and save your statements each month. When you get the email saying your statement is available, go online check it and download it.
  • Use it or lose it. The more you log in and look at your account, the easier it gets – so don’t wait for your statement – if it is a credit card account, you should check your account once a week to keep an eye out for any suspicious charges or fees.
  • Make sure your computer is secure. This should be done anyway, but it becomes more important when you are managing more of your financial affairs online. 

-ends-

 For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson or Martyn John at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 654 725

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with the GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

 Notes to editors:

*On the 29th December 2017, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 2334 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists.  The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About GoCompare

GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. Gocompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

GoCompare does not sell its customers’ data.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

For more information visit www.gocompare.com and www.gocomparegroup.com

 

Contact information

Gordon Maw

gordon@mawcomms.co.uk