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Paperless Credit Card Statements: Should You Go Green?

by Francine Huff

Are you concerned about preserving our forests and cutting down on paper waste? Consider going green with your credit cards to do your part to protect our planet.

Paperless Credit Card Statements

Most credit card companies offer the option of receiving monthly statements online. This usually requires you to register for an online account and agree not to receive paper copies of statements. Credit card companies usually send an email when a new statement is available. Electronic access to your credit card account usually gives you access to many months of old statements, as well as the ability to manage your account online. Online access works well if you already are in the habit of paying bills electronically.

Save Money by Going Green

Besides being green, getting paperless statements can save you money depending upon which credit cards you use. Some credit card companies are now charging for paper statements. Alliance Data, a private label credit issuer, has begun charging customers $1 per mailed statement to offset costs related to recent credit card regulation changes. Retailers such as Victoria's Secret, Ann Taylor, HSN, Spiegel, and Lane Bryant have credit cards affiliated with Alliance Data, according to WAPT.com.

Despite criticism of the $1 statement fee, Alliance Data told WAPT.com:

It's not about us looking for a new means of generating revenue. When we did a very careful assessment of what the CARD Act meant in terms of changing our monthly billing statement, it now has to include much more detail relating to the terms and conditions of the card. That effectively meant that we couldn't accomplish what we needed to accomplish on the number of pages that we had been mailing out in our monthly statement. We had to increase the amount of paper, production and ink, as well as the whole technical aspect of reconfiguring, reprogramming and recalibrating how we issue monthly bills.

Credit Card Terms Online

Recent changes in the law also require credit card companies to put their credit card agreements online. So if you don't have a recent version of your credit card terms, visit your card issuer's Web site to read through them. Although you probably received a paper copy of the credit card terms when you signed up for a card, it's a good idea to check out the most recent version online.

You can also look at credit card agreements even if you don't have an account with a particular company. That can help you shop around for a new credit card.

Published 07/26/11 (Modified 11/20/13)

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