The #1 Bill You Should Get by Mail

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Technology has made it convenient to access important paperwork like bills online, but as you’re about to see, some documents are better to touch and feel.

Choosing to receive electronic bank statements is an easy way to keep track of your finances and save trees but money expert Clark Howard wants you to make one exception: your credit card bill.

Why Clark Wants You To Receive This Bill via U.S. Mail

Clark wants you to receive a paper copy of your credit card bill because you’ll look at it differently: You’ll likely pay more attention to what you’ve spent.

“With a paper bill, people will actually look, more likely than not, at their individual charges,” Clark says. “When they get an e-bill, they only look at the balance, the minimum payment due. They don’t actually look at the individual charges they have, because it’s more difficult with an e-bill by far than it is with a paper bill.”

In a recent news release, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data reported that credit card balances increased by $45 billion to a high of $1.03 trillion.

Clark says credit card companies and banks have a vested interest in keeping you in debt. The more debt you have, the more money the credit card companies earn in interest and fees.

You may have gotten correspondence from your credit card company or bank asking you to convert your paper bills into e-statements. This, Clark says, is by design:

“Know that the banks didn’t do that as your friend; they did that as your adversary, conning you to go to e-statements on your credit cards, with consumer behavior being what it is.”

How To Resume Paper Statements With Your Bank

If you’re wondering how to turn paper statements back on with your financial institution, the following steps will be useful:

I walked through the process of resuming paper bill delivery on Wells Fargo’s website. 

  • Once I logged on to my account, all I had to do was click on Accounts > Statements & Documents > Manage Delivery Preferences.
  • Select the account(s) for which I wanted to receive paper bills.

Here’s a screenshot of how that looks on

Wells Fargo bill delivery

The online process is similar for many other financial institutions. Here are some instructions for a few major banks.

  • Bank of America: Log in to your account online and go to Profile & Settings within Online Banking and select the Paperless settings link.
  • Chase: Log in to your account online and choose the Paperless button within the account summary. Or select Account settings under the Profile and Settings icon in the top right corner of your browser.
  • Citi: The bank says to receive paper statements, log in to CitiManager, click on the “Statement” tab and select the “Go Paperless” sub-tab. Make sure there’s no checkmark in the paperless field and click “I Agree.”

Final Thoughts

Receiving a paper copy of your credit card bill is a great way to pay attention to — and cut back on — your monthly spending. This is especially important if you have a balance on your credit card bill.

“I want you to have that forced behavior when that bill comes in and you open that envelope,” Clark says. “Face the music. Look at each charge. Look at each page. See where the money is going and get it under control.”

Clark acknowledges that it can be very difficult to get out of debt, but he has confidence that you can do it.

“Instead of charging more on those cards, you need to maybe even stop using those cards until you can attack the balances you have and get them out of your life,” he advises.

First, you’ll need to stick to a budget. If you don’t have one, read our guide on how to create a budget.

Which bills do you prefer to receive in the mail versus going paperless? Tell us in the Community.

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