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Paper, electronic or both?

By Marcie Geffner ·
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

A sizable number of bank customers are "double-dipping" when it comes to paper and electronic account statements.

Nearly 30 to 40 percent of bank customers who get electronic statements online also continue to receive paper duplicates by U.S. mail as well, according to a new study by Javelin Strategy & Research, released by NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association in Herndon, Va.

The worst offenders, so to speak, are Generation Y consumers, aged 18 to 32, and early adopters, who identify themselves as among the first to try new technology, the study found.

Javelin President Jim Van Dyke said in a statement that these double dippers present challenges for banks because they waste resources, put an unnecessary burden on the environment, weaken banks' returns on their investments and create inefficiencies for banks by utilizing duplicate services.

Yet the study also found the likeliest culprits responded positively to messages that encouraged them to give up their paper habits. Nearly 20 percent of Gen Y consumers said they forgot to turn off paper statements. Forty-one percent of Gen Y and 48 percent of early adopters said they'd be receptive to an automatic shut-off of paper statements when they signed up for online services.

NACHA CEO Janet O. Estep said the findings presented an opportunity for banks to use "targeted educational programs and messaging" to encourage the adoption of paperless behaviors.

The researchers advised banks to refocus their efforts to influence their younger and technology-savvy customers by changing their marketing messages and channels to better target those customers and creating website content that would appeal to them.

The study, "The Paper Statement Challenge: A Targeting Opportunity," was based on an online survey of 3,502 U.S. adults based on representative proportions of geography, gender, age, income and ethnicity, according to NACHA.

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