When I transitioned my life to Dropbox (and then to Google Drive for no real reason), I also switched from paper bills to their electronic counterparts. It seems I am not alone in it.
Craig Galbraith reports on B/OSS about a study commissioned by Sprint about their e-billing:
“For years we have promoted electronic billing options as convenient, environmentally friendly ways to view, analyze and pay their bills,” said Scott Rice, vice president – IT care and billing services at Sprint. “The study tells us that wireless customers who receive their bills electronically are significantly more likely to be very satisfied with the ease of reading and understanding their bills.”
So people are more satisfied from their electronic bills. The reasons given are a bit weird – ease of reading and understanding. At least here in Israel, an electronic bill is just a PDF file that didn’t get printed, enveloped and sent. Nothing more and nothing less. If anything, I spend less time trying to understand it as I see less on my laptop monitor than on real paper.
I took the time to actually think why I still prefer an e-bill. Here are my 7 reasons why:
1. Less clutter
When I was younger, my mother told me to save these bills – you never know when you might need them. So I did.
I’ve got everything filed for safe keeping, but my system is breaking down. Every few months I take out all the bills I stored in a drawer and start arranging them in a bunch of manila folders. It is no fun at all.
Whatever I moved to electronic bills is a lot easier to handle: I just place it in the correct folder in Google Drive and it miraculously gets into all of my computers as well as my smartphone.
In some instances, I even scan paper bills/receipts and store them on Google Drive to make it easier to handle.
No more clutter.
2. Easier access to old bills
Not sure about you, but I don’t really go back to look at bills once they get filed. Unless I really have to:
- Disputes. Had one of those with my triple play provider about my phone line. I got billed for two lines instead of one for a period of 9 months
- Mortgage. They ask for the last 3 pay checks to give you a mortgage here. It was a lot easier to just email them to the bank than to search them in a manila folder and then go physically to the bank
The storing system on Google Drive doesn’t really matter – I can simply search for them on the folders and within seconds to minutes find what I need and then either print it, or better yet send it.
3. Faster to arrive
Yap. Not needing to print, envelope and send costs less for the service provider, but also takes less time. This means bills get faster and closer to the actual payment date, which is also nice.
4. Feels more… up to date
That’s a stupid reason, but hey, this blog needs to earn its name.
For me paper is a nuisance most of the time. Main reason to use it is for the bit of drawings I do for this site or for doing “arts and crafts sessions” with my daughter. I like to keep it that way.
5. Doesn’t have the human touch
This is probably the reason why so many people told Sprint they are satisfied more from their e-bills: skipping the post mail system and using email and PDF instead of bills has a psychological effect as well. It signals that the bills weren’t handled by humans. And we all know computers just can’t go wrong.
Of course, it isn’t true. The same bill is calculated and created before being “papered” or “e-billed”, but to me it is the same as going online to buy: if you talk to a sales person, you will try to haggle for a price, but if you are buying using a credit card online, then there’s a single price there – no haggling possible.
No human touch means fewer disputes.
6. Available everywhere
As I now have my bills on Google Drive, they go with me wherever I am. Since I have them on my smartphone, I can use them anyway I like.
The other day, I went to the bank to complain about the crazy tariffs I am paying for my account. The bank manager was kind enough to say she will reduce these tariffs, but required a few of them documents. I just browsed my Google Drive and sent them to her on the spot. It saved me a lot of time.
Having e-bills means that I now have my old and bulky manila folders with me at all times.
7. Being green
I am a tree hugger. Maybe this is why Kati decided that for the new design she did for this blog recently to go green.
For me, getting PDF files instead of more paper means being greener – even if just a little bit.
Now if only I could just direct them service providers to my Google Drive folder and have them save my e-bills there automatically…
What about you? Do you prefer e-bills or paper bills?