Are Paper Bank Statements a Thing of the Past
By Bob Branco
Being that I can’t criticize technological trends without someone telling me to accept the times we live in, I can’t help but be compelled to say once again that I accept modern times. It’s not the technology that bothers me. What bothers me is that technology seems to be taken for granted, with many people feeling that everyone in the world should have it no matter what. This is not reality. Many elderly people, the developmentally disabled, and others who simply choose not to deal with technology have the right not to have it, and these people should be served according to their wishes. Establishments such as postal services, medical facilities, and banks should be made aware of this.
My latest concern arose when someone informed me that a local bank will no longer be sending paper bank statements to its customers. Apparently, this bank’s customers will have to go online to find out about their transactions. For those with computers and smart phones, this is wonderful. It’s easy to do. You can check anytime you want. You have all the luxury you need whenever you need it. You should continue to enjoy your online banking. However, here’s the reality. I have a close relative who shall go nameless. She is a very bright woman who spent her entire life balancing a checkbook and understanding the concept of a paper bank statement. She is approximately 65 years old and does not own a computer, a smart phone, or any other modern technological device. She doesn’t want these devices, and that’s her right. She, like many other people, has lived her life just fine without smart devices. Yet this bank is no longer considering customers like her.
Here are my issues. First, why should my relative have to get a smart device that she either doesn’t want or can’t afford just because a bank decided not to mail paperwork to its customers anymore? Furthermore, I don’t go along with the excuse that the continued use of paper for a limited population is a financial burden on the bank or any other service organization that uses paper. It was never a financial burden in the past, so why is it suddenly a financial burden now?
When I was told about this brave decision to stop issuing paper bank statements, I thought about the fact that my bank still sends paper statements, including the braille statements that I depend on. What’s going to happen if my bank stops issuing paper? Will I still get my braille that I depend on because I’m blind? I know what some of you might be thinking as you read this. “Well, Bob, you’re a smart guy. Go online.” There are reasons why I won’t bank online, and other reasons why it may be difficult for me to do so. However, I won’t go into them right now.
I keep hearing rumors that eventually there will be no more U.S. Postal Service because of all the emailing we do. Again, where is the regard for the segment of our population that simply chooses to remain in a routine that they are accustomed to? Do you think that a 90–year–old man who has cognitive problems wants to go online for his prescriptions, his financial information, or anything else? Should he have to go to a library in order to keep up with the times? Maybe he can’t get to a library.
Once again, let me reassure my readers that it isn’t the technology itself that I don’t accept; it’s the way that society seems to be turning its back on people who don’t have or want the technology. I don’t think technology is as required as it’s perceived to be. It’s nice to have it if you want to have it.