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How can I provide “original statements” when I transact online?

I’m sure many of you have come across this anomaly in the financial world recently. I’m not sure whether it’s just stupidity, incompetence or just a lack of thinking, or maybe there’s a conspiracy theory in it somewhere?

Pretty much all of my banking and billing are now transacted online. Not only is it very handy for me, but as it’s a cost saver for financial and utility institutions, it’s something they’re encouraging you to do more regularly now as well.

I do my banking online with no paper statements. I get my utilities bills consolidated together via GetItKeepIt.com so I just get an e-mail when a new bill is issued. My credit card account is online where I get an e-mail notification of new statements. My savings accounts are also transacted online as well – no paper statements, I just log in to check the balance wherever I want.

So why is it that whenever I want to apply for a new account with most institutions still, I HAVE to have an original paper copy of a bill or a statement of account?

It’s not acceptable to these financial and utility companies to provide a print out of an online account statement – they must be original paper copies.

And, to get these paper originals sent out to you, (and here’s where the conspiracy kicks in), you have to pay money.

Surely it’s conceivably more secure to provide a print out of an online statement or bill rather than sending on a paper bill. I can dumpster dive and get the paper bill or statement from my neighbour much easier than I can get logged on to their bank account and print out an online statement.

If this isn’t a “screw more money from customers” issue, why insist on these paper bills, or at the very least, provide an online function to reprint a proper statement yourself (which is effectively what the bank will charge you €7.50, or whatever, for them to reprint per page).

It’s great that businesses are providing a better customer interaction via their online services – it’s just unfortunate they don’t change their other processes and procedures to take account of such technological advancements.

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