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Take a moment and think of how many checks you write per month. Utilities, cell phone, cable, internet, mortgage, and tuition fees are probably just a sample of what you pay. Each bill arrives in an envelope; each envelope contains a statement; each statement requires a check, which requires another envelope, which requires a stamp. Aside from having to write fewer checks, here are three more reasons to go paperless:

Environmental Impact
By signing up for paperless statements and electronic billing, you can contribute to making Earth a much healthier planet simply by saving paper. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the pulp and paper industry is the single largest consumer of water used in industrial activities and the third greatest industrial greenhouse gas emitter. If Americans saved all the paper and wood products we go through in a year, we could heat 50 million homes for 20 years. And just how much paper does the average American family discard annually? Approximately 2,460 pounds. By participating in something as simple as paperless billing, your impact can and will be felt.

Better Organization
Not only can paperless statements benefit the planet, studies show direct links between decreasing clutter and benefits to consumers' own physical and mental well-being. A study shows that the simple act of removing stacks of paper and clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in the average home, since clutter is a breeding ground for dust mites, pet dander, and dust.* And keeping your home free of excess paperwork can even lead to a financial payoff: Harris Interactive reports that 23 percent of adults lose their bills and incur fees because their payments are late, something that people with paperless statements can avoid worrying about.

Greater Security
The Postal Service reports that last year alone 9.9 million Americans were the victims of identity theft, a crime that cost the victims nearly $5 billion dollars. A portion of those thefts were a direct result of stolen mail, and postal inspectors urge citizens to shred and destroy unwanted documents containing personal information and not to leave mail in mailboxes overnight on weekends. Paperless statements and automatic billing lessens the possibility of such theft, putting you in greater control of your information.

Paper statements pile up and create clutter, making them easy to misplace, or worse, wind up in the wrong hands. Switch to paperless statements and consider signing up for automatic billing—you'll help create peace of mind that your bills will be paid while helping to conserve the environment.

* The National Soap and Detergent Association

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