Paperless Banking - Disadvantages

I have a number of online savings accounts which over the years now pay so little interest that I've virtually cleared them out bar a pound or two. But according to the online banks I use, I cannot actually close the accounts without visiting the branch which is a hassle. Occasionally interest is added and I get an annual paper statement showing tiny balances, sometimes of even just a few pence. However, many banks are now strong-arming us to go paperless and there is a risk that these dormant accounts could just get forgotten. I wonder how many people will in the future die leaving no paper-trail for their relatives to identify these accounts? Indeed, without paper records, even larger sums could be overlooked if people don't print off their statements etc themselves. For the customer, this would seem to rather negate the point of going paperless. For the banks, they save postage and maybe end up with accounts with unclaimed balances when customers die.  Does anyone know what happens to these? Personally I'd rather continue receiving paper statements as I manage all the finances for my wife and me and it is at least one way she can see what's going on. Should we not be able to keep this option - I could not access an old Halifax account today without agreeing to go paperless so the pressure is definitely on.
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  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,573
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    If there's no activity on an account after a particular number of years, banks will flag it as dormant.
    There's a joint bank initiative to help people trace lost accounts.

    But nothing beats maintaining an up to date record yourself of who you have accounts with and letting people know how to find it in order to help those having to administer your estate. It's not just bank accounts, it's utilities, pensions, insurance, where your will is etc,

  • colsten
    colsten Posts: 17,597
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    Its only a problem if you (mis-)use your accounts as your personal finance manager. Nothing stops you from keeping your own records, in whatever form suits you best. I use AceMoney, in which I maintain a complete record of all my current, savings, investments and electronic money accounts.This is complemented with a password manager, as well as a will which contains instructions on where to find what. But you could use any other personal finance manager, or even just pen an paper, to record your accounts.

    For the past several years, at least 10, may be 15, I have only used paperless accounts. I stay positively clear of accounts which do not offer paperless.
  • EssexExile
    EssexExile Posts: 6,087
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    I just have a list of accounts with a rough amount on an Excel document. If they want my millions when I'm gone they're going to have to work for it.
    Tall, dark & handsome. Well two out of three ain't bad.
  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546
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    Download a PDF a copy of the account statement. No need for paper copies. 
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,208
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    Download a PDF a copy of the account statement. No need for paper copies. 
    It works if you are IT savvy and have the right kind of kit at home.  Most of us do of course, but lots of people don't.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • adamp87
    adamp87 Posts: 849
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    I think the percentage of the population who now don’t have a tablet/laptop or mobile device that they can use their bank account on is probably tiny.

    Theres really no need for paper statements when we have digital generally speaking. Of course some people may prefer them or need them but that is a small amount.

    Technology is forcing us to advance away from them, and the next generation probably won’t bat an eye lid about it. 

    They’ll still sent a yearly statement via paper I believe and there are ways to find accounts when someone passes, so I don’t really think there’s a huge risk of things being forgotten. If there are far too many accounts to manage then there’s a different issue in itself.
  • lr1277
    lr1277 Posts: 1,613
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    I still prefer paper statements, especially for current accounts, to help prove my identity. In the last 6 months, I have wanted to withdraw money from a couple of brokers. Even though I provided account statments on opening, I had to provide again, a statement from the bank receiving the money. I don't know if my bank provides pdf copies of statement as I have never checked. Also I do not know if my brokers would have accepted a pdf of the statement. In my mind, some organisations, especially those related to government, want to see paper copies of current account statements.
  • p00hsticks
    p00hsticks Posts: 12,573
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    lr1277 said:
    I still prefer paper statements, especially for current accounts, to help prove my identity. In the last 6 months, I have wanted to withdraw money from a couple of brokers. Even though I provided account statments on opening, I had to provide again, a statement from the bank receiving the money. I don't know if my bank provides pdf copies of statement as I have never checked. Also I do not know if my brokers would have accepted a pdf of the statement. In my mind, some organisations, especially those related to government, want to see paper copies of current account statements.

    In my experience when you go paperless, companies are happy to send you a paper statement on request for just such a purpose. 
  • colsten
    colsten Posts: 17,597
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    lr1277 said:
    I still prefer paper statements, especially for current accounts, to help prove my identity. In the last 6 months, I have wanted to withdraw money from a couple of brokers. Even though I provided account statments on opening, I had to provide again, a statement from the bank receiving the money. I don't know if my bank provides pdf copies of statement as I have never checked. Also I do not know if my brokers would have accepted a pdf of the statement. In my mind, some organisations, especially those related to government, want to see paper copies of current account statements.

    In my experience when you go paperless, companies are happy to send you a paper statement on request for just such a purpose. 
    That, or if you are with a modern bank like Starling, they let you create your own statement which you can have electronically stamped by them for authenticity. You can create and print such a statement in a couple of minutes, 24 x 7. Cue the people saying it doesn't work for them as they have no printer.......

    I recently had to verify my Starling account with NS&I. The statement I created & printed for that purpose was accepted without queries. I didn't ask whether they'd accept an electronic statement.

    adamp87 said:


    They’ll still sent a yearly statement via paper I believe 
    Very few companies now still do this in my experience for savings accounts, and I don't think you get any annual paper statements for current accounts, or for investment accounts, now unless you have opted for paper statements. Almost all companies, including utilities and mobile phone providers, now offer paperless , and some also default to paperless. Even HMRC can be done completely paperless. The number of trees saved must run in the tens of thousands.
  • colsten said:
    This is complemented with a password manager, as well as a will which contains instructions on where to find what. 
    Hi Colsten,

    Out of interest, how do you then keep the password to the password manager secure?  My wife knows mine (and vice versa), but I wouldn’t want it any wider than that.

    cheers
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