Online statements could be bad for your bank balance

Jessica Morris
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While people tend to think online statements help them make better financial decisions, you're more likely to have better money management skills if you receive paper statements in the post.

The behavioral study, produced by London Economics for the Keep Me Posted campaign, said individuals receiving financial correspondence by post were better able to understand, act and make decisions on it than those getting the same information electronically.

Its research showed people were twice as likely to remember their bank balances if they received statements by post. While 75 per cent who received paper statements could correctly assess the financial health of their account, this was true for just 48 per cent of individuals who were working from an online statement.

The study also found individuals receiving paper statements were better able to identify ways to improve their finances, such as reducing spending or sticking to a monthly budget.

"People's understanding of the information they receive has important implications on their ability to manage their money effectively," said Judith Donovan CBE. chair of the Keep Me Posted campaign. "The findings confirm that receiving paper correspondence may help people manger their finances better. It can help them avoid going overdrawn inadvertently or spending beyond their means."

The study comes amid an increasing shift towards online statements - with banks and their customers snubbing paper counterparts on environmental concerns, ease of use, and the seemingly false belief it makes them less financially savvy.

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