Are paper bank statements still needed?

At my local bank recently I remarked to the representative that surely it was time to move on from the old paper bankbook and statements. He calmly replied that many customer still prefer them.

In this day and age? Incredible, I thought. But I was, of course guilty of viewing the world through my own, privileged lens.

One reason for this continuance is that statement notifications can easily be overlooked in a deluge of email, but the main driver of this behaviour is the ‘digital divide’.bank-book-close-up-accounting-40950546

Take a guess which country owns these statistics;

  • Over half (53%) of consumers with less than a high school education do not have home broadband connections.
  • Lower-income households lack access at nearly twice the rate of the general population – 59% of households with incomes below $20,000 do not have access to broadband Internet at home, compared to one-third (33%) of all households.
  • Over half (55%) of people 65 years or older do not have access to broadband Internet at home.
  • The percentage of homes with broadband Internet has actually declined in the last two years by 3% (from 70% to 67% of all households). A 5% decrease for households under $20,000 income.

Which country? The USA! Imagine the situation in less developed countries!

These findings were revealed in a report “Paper Statements: An Important Consumer Protection” published March 2016 by the US National Consumer Law Center and reported here in the New York Times.

Of course, banks prefer digital statements because they help save on printing and mailing costs but banks should remain sensitive to the needs of their customers. Delivering a Lifetime Customer Experience requires understanding and accommodating the needs customers (regardless of age or ability) so they can effortlessly continue to engage.