/ Money

Oh rubbish! RBS & NatWest bin monthly paper statements

NatWest and RBS have decided to stop posting monthly paper statements to their current account customers, opting to send them every three months instead. But are you embracing the idea of paperless banking?

Many high street banks already give customers the option to ‘switch off’ their paper statements and manage their accounts online instead. But NatWest and RBS are the first banks to stop monthly paper statements altogether.

As part of the new arrangement, all RBS and NatWest customers who currently receive paper statements will start receiving them on a quarterly basis instead. Those who wish to keep receiving monthly statements will be able to opt back in.

So could this move be another nail in the coffin for the humble paper bank statement?

The rise of online banking

Internet banking continues to grow in popularity and, for many, is the easiest way to manage your money. I decided to opt out of receiving paper statements a while ago, when I realised that I’d been hoarding quite a sizeable collection of them that I didn’t have any use for. This has helped me cut down on clutter, and I no longer feel guilty about wasting so much paper.

Issuing fewer paper statements is a positive move where the environment is concerned, and of course NatWest and RBS will benefit financially as a result of lower administration and postage costs. But what does it mean for their customers?

Paperless isn’t always an option

For many, it probably won’t make any difference. But I can’t help thinking that the decision doesn’t consider the needs of people who still rely on paper statements to manage their money and budget effectively.

Millions of people in the UK still have no access to the internet, and those who do might not always feel comfortable managing their bank account online. For those people, there’s going to be an increased risk of payment errors or fraudulent activity going unnoticed if they can only monitor their accounts on a quarterly basis.

Do you think regular paper statements still play an important role in personal banking? Or would you like to see other banks follow in NatWest and RBS’ footsteps?

Do you use or want monthly paper bank statements?

Yes - I find monthly paper statements useful (65%, 186 Votes)

No - I don't need monthly paper statements (24%, 67 Votes)

I wouldn't mind if they were sent quarterly (11%, 32 Votes)

Total Voters: 288

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Gerard Phelan says:
12 November 2012

My immediate thought is about the consequences following the incapacity or death of a family member. When my mother died, I was able to work out her complex financial affairs by looking through the bank statements received during her illness and following her death. If her statements had remained on-line, then that would have been impossible.

George Attaway says:
12 November 2012

I was in hospital for thee months and my wife is not able to use a computer so the paper billing from the bank and other utilities was essential for her to pay bills. It is monstrous of these companies to deny elderly folk the choice. And what happens if the computer is down?


My wife, who is 76 years old cannot use a computer. We have joint bank account and if I should die before her, then with the monthly statements she would be able to continue her financial affairs. With quarterly accounts she would be lost.
We will definitely ‘opt out’ of any change to 3 monthly statements, and if this facility is withdrawn would change banks – which is a pity after 55 years with the same bank.


Absolutely has no problem with quarterly statements,
online records go back a year if not much longer
… can print out to keep, no problem with that either,
if so wish.

Richard Kelly says:
12 November 2012

I don’t really have too much of a problem with online statements, except when it comes to proving id.

I have my utilities on prepayment, so the only things I get that can be used for proof of address, when I need it, are bank statements and my credit card bill. The trouble is, is that most places I have come across will not accept a print out of an online statement as proof of anything.

As it is, I only get a passport for ID purposes, and with more and more institutions doing away with paper, the all important proof of address is disappearing.


This did concern me at one time but when I have offered a printout it has been accepted as proof of address.


I cancelled my paper statements a while ago, and am glad to have done so. I recently needed to provide a physical statement and it was easy enough to log in and download a PDF.

Next, I’d like to see shops offering paperless receipts.


I agree, and now it really annoys me when a financial institution does not offer PDF statements. The storage space on my hard drive is negligible compared to the physical storage space taken by paper statements.


My banks in other countries have charged for the postage to send paper statements for decades. Now that online banking is a suitable alternative, I would support British banks doing the same. Why should those who don’t want paper statements subsidise those who do?


You have a computer, use online banking and can cope well with online statements. So can I and probably most of the people who use this website.

Please can you spare a thought for those who would find it difficult or impossible to use online banking or simply cannot afford a computer. I’m happy to subsidise them, even if you are not.


If they cannot afford a computer, they can choose instead to pay for paper statements. They have a choice. When I buy a computer and use online banking, I should not have to subsidise those who choose to receive paper statements. It’s about choice and a reasonable charge reflecting the costs that a customer incurs.


Thank goodness that some people care about those less fortunate than themselves. 🙂


With First Direct – I still get both – I prefer paper for my records –

I deal with OAPs and the very vulnerable that are unable to cope with the Internet or afford a computer – I am appalled at some posters lack of sympathy or empathy for the less able. No wonder I’m losing interest in Which? conversations.