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Green banking at Wells Fargo

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Posted: 4 pm ET

This week, Wells Fargo celebrates an eco-friendly banking landmark: 100 million e-receipts.

What's an e-receipt? It's a service that lets customers replace paper receipts for ATM transactions with electronic receipts delivered to their in-boxes. Instead of waiting for a receipt to print, account holders at the bank can select an option to immediately have a record of the transaction sent to their email addresses.After two years of availability at ATMs where account holders have taken advantage of the option, the bank has now extended the service to teller transactions. Account holders can eliminate pockets full of crumpled receipts while still keeping track of that last $40 withdrawal from their checking accounts.

Banks have been pushing account holders in a paperless direction for quite some time. From lightening the load of snail mail with online banking statements to reducing check processing time with mobile deposit, the banking industry has made significant strides in spending less on piles of paper -- a lot less. Wells Fargo says that these 100 million e-receipts have saved 20,000 rolls of receipt paper.

I won't be surprised if we see e-receipt options pop up at other big banks in the near future. Financial institutions are looking to reduce their expenses, and the cost of those paper records of withdrawals, deposits and balances add up throughout the year. That's why we've seen banks offer breaks on checking account fees for customers who are willing to sign up for online statements and online bill pay.

While some traditional customers still may prefer the old-fashioned route to money management, the cost-cutting advantages, coupled with environmental benefits, will continue to reduce retail banking's use of paper. If you're still holding on to printouts of your account activity, I recommend getting comfortable with the computer screen.

What do you think of e-receipts for your ATM transactions? Are there any downsides to the paperless movement?

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