Resolutions for the New Year: Go Green with Banking Services
The “green movement” has been around for a number of years, and many people have resolved to be more environmentally conscious in the new year. Buying a new hybrid car, or an ultra high-efficiency washing machine may be out of reach for most people at this time of the year, but a resolution that is easy, convenient and good for the planet is to go green with your banking services.
The oft-overlooked process of green banking can actually help save trees, gas and money. Green banking can include a number of things: opening an account online, opting to receive electronic statements over paper, paying bills online, receiving text and email alerts on your mobile device, or simply saying “no” to the paper receipt at the ATM.
As an example, opening a bank account online is actually a form of green banking. Here’s a look at how we “used to” open an account, compared with the new, greener way:
- Old way: drive to the bank, wait for a customer service representative to be available, fill out a pile of paperwork, wait while they enter all your information into a computer, and then deposit money.
- Green way: sit at your computer, fill out a simple application and add funds yourself to the new account
The results of this small, green step include reduced carbon emissions (since you don’t need to drive to the bank) and reduced paper consumption (because the paperwork is handled electronically). Another benefit, though not directly related to the environment, is that you save time by opening your account online. (And who doesn’t want to save time?)
To obtain a free checking or savings account with direct deposit at OneUnited Bank, open an account online at www.oneunited.com/join. The accounts offer free online banking, mobile banking and bill pay. You can access your funds with a free Visa debit or ATM card and you will have access to your funds surcharge-free at over 15,000 ATMs across the country.
While you’re in a green state of mind, you should also consider going paperless on all or most of your bills. Since you can pay most bills through online banking, there’s no need for all those paper bills in the mail. Just be sure to carefully review all of your bills online, the same way that you would the paper bills, to avoid paying for something that you didn’t buy and to prevent late charges. If you pay your bills online, not only are you reducing paper, but you’re also saving the cost of a stamp and the time it takes for a check to be mailed and processed. If you have a car payment, a mortgage, a credit card bill, and a bunch of utilities, you’ll buy dozens of stamps over the course of the year.
What about all of those paper receipts that collect in your pockets and purses? According to reports, 9.6 million trees are cut down each year to produce paper receipts. An increasing number of merchants are offering the option to receive electronic receipts as a green alternative.
If everyone takes one or all of these incremental steps towards greening their financial lives, you are doing your part to help the environment!