Talking innovation | Email billing trend on rise

CATCHING UP: While the technology has been available for some time, companies are transitioning to the paperless system of email for accounts and bills at a rapid rate.
CATCHING UP: While the technology has been available for some time, companies are transitioning to the paperless system of email for accounts and bills at a rapid rate.

Am I going to be forced to receive my bills via email going forward?

Even though I use computers as part of my job and have a smartphone, I still like to receive my bills in paper form. I heard recently that this may no longer be an option in the future, so will I need to adapt to email bills instead?

As is the case with many innovative ideas, the technology for email bills has been available for a long time, but the concept has only started to take off in the right circumstances.

These circumstances have only materialised in recent years, and perhaps you could therefore be forgiven for being surprised by the momentum for change that we are now seeing in this area.

Some of the conditions required for this change include increased access to the internet via computers at home or at work, access to smart phones including for older people and those who are not working and finally there is the increase in the level of computer literacy of the population overall.

As the right circumstances have now materialised, larger businesses are keen to make the change to email bills for a number of reasons, with the key factor being cost saving (less paper, printing and postage).

While it is certainly understandable to be cynical about the profit-driven motive for the change, there are also benefits to consumers including convenience, speed at which communication can occur, reduced environmental impact and reduced chance of late fees from bills going missing in the mail.

As with any change of this significance, there are plenty of community groups that are concerned about people being left behind, with particular concerns about businesses charging additional fees to continue receiving paper bills.

While there is currently no specific legislation limiting the application of fees in these circumstances, if you or someone you know is unable to make the switch to email bills you may be successful in requesting a reversal of these fees in certain circumstances.

For those well-placed to switch to email bills, you may wish to switch now on your own terms. 

To discuss switching to email bills, either personally or for your business, please contact your financial institution or a Crowe Horwath adviser at albury@crowehorwath.com.au

... the technology for email bills has been available for a long time ...

Ryan Muntz, Innovation Specialist, Crowe Horwath