Pros and cons of going paperless

Posted by Kevin Pearce in Personal Finance on 7 December 2018 - Kevin is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Whether you are environmentally motivated or simply to get a discount for moving your billing online, you might find it makes sense to abandon paper for your business, if you haven’t already.

As technology gets more advanced and more prevalent in day-to-day life, you would expect paper use would gradually get phased out, or at least reduced dramatically. But instead, paper usage has increased heavily over the last 20 years According to Keely Travis Business Solutions, with 208 million tonnes of paper produced worldwide each year, up from just 92 million tonnes in 1997.

So how can we reduce our overall environmental impact by changing our office habits?

What does paperless mean?

As the name implies, paperless refers to removing paper usage from a business where possible. Usually this is motivated by a desire to be more environmentally-friendly.

Paper usage itself is not inherently bad for the environment, at least not when compared to other materials, such as plastics, which is why recently there’s been a trend towards replacing plastic straws with paper versions. However, the process of recycling, disposing of used paper or creating it fresh leaves quite the carbon footprint, making it the fourth largest contributor to greenhouse gasses in the world.

For that reason, a number of businesses have chosen to go ‘paperless’ in recent years, taking their product or correspondence available online wherever possible.

Pros of going paperless

As you might expect, there are plenty of good reasons to consider cutting back on the amount of paper you or your business uses.

Environmentally friendly

The biggest and most obvious benefit of removing waste paper from the workplace is to lessen the impact to the environment. Although most newly-made paper is uses renewable energy to do so, and recycling paper reduces the number of toxic chemicals that are released into the environment, reducing our usage of paper lessens the impact dramatically.

Paper, postage and printing costs

A huge amount of money can be saved for the companies that make the switch to paperless. Even though bulk email services will charge, the cost pales in comparison to the expense of buying paper and paying postage.

Increasing consumer demand for things to happen immediately (or as close as possible) has meant many would rather hear from companies by email than through traditional snail mail.

That also means things won't get lost in the post, but you might have to check your email’s junk folder from time to time.

Less clutter

Bills and paperwork soon accumulate, and it’s not long before physical copies start to take up a lot of physical space. Not too long ago an archive of filing cabinets would have been needed to do the same thing that computers connected to a network can.

You might find that if you can’t go fully paperless that even by cutting down on paper usage you can free up a lot of extra space.

Speed up applications

These days you can apply for credit online, send off any verification or security documents and even sign most credit agreements online. NatWest even offer a ‘paperless’ mortgage, which takes the whole process online, which means you won’t get snowed under with physical paperwork.

Cons of going paperless

We’re not going to pretend it’s a perfect world in a land without paper, and inevitably as technology expands its reach there are going to be some hiccups along the way.


The rise of interconnected technology has made it that bit easier to steal information, even with security measures as advanced as they are today. Keeping this data as a physical copy makes this harder to illegally obtain because short of physically breaking in to a building, you’re unlikely to get access to this kind of customer data.


Although ultimately the environmental impact of going paperless is less than the impact of creating, pulping and recycling paper, computers and servers aren’t exactly carbon neutral either, since they all require electricity, which is typically produced by non-environmentally friendly methods.

Easier to forget bills

Unless you receive several reminders and check your emails regularly, you may not keep on top of important bills. It’s harder to ignore a bill when you’ve stuck it to your fridge or left it under your car keys.

In most cases however, if a business thinks that you owe them money, they are likely to be persistent no matter how you ask them to contact you, so they can be hard to miss.

What do we know about going paperless? Well, we launched the UK’s first online Credit Report almost 20 years ago. With 20 million Credit Scores generated in that time, you can just imagine how many trees have been spared.

Updated 07/12/2018 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

CCJs or County Court Judgments

It’s no secret that the levels of unpaid debts in the UK have been rising over the last few years, as household incomes stagnate and everything else in this world seemingly becomes more expensive. According to Credit Action, debt per adult is over £31,000 – or around 110% of average earnings. It’s also projected to take a whopping 26 years of consistent, minimum monthly payments to clear an average credit card. Debt may be all around us, but what happens when payments can’t be made when they fall due?

Published on 6 Dec 2019 by Kevin Pearce

Full Article

Could your Netflix and Spotify subscriptions help build your Credit Score?

Building creditworthiness takes time and diligence. At the heart of improving your Credit Rating is the simple habit of managing existing credit agreements well, and proving to potential lenders that you are a good credit risk.

Published on 31 Oct 2019 by Andrew Brown

Full Article

Apple Credit Card – Modern Innovation or More of the Same?

Apple’s first foray into consumer credit is finally available - to US iPhone owners at least.

Published on 24 Oct 2019 by Sam Griffin

Full Article

How does APR work? – Your questions answered

APR stands for Annual Percentage Rate and is a standard measure that allows you to compare the total cost of credit from different lenders.

Published on 30 Aug 2019 by Andrew Brown

Full Article

Check your Multi Agency Credit Report before the PPI deadline

The PPI deadline is at 11.59pm on Thursday 29 August. After this point, you can no longer submit applications to reclaim any PPI you are owed from lenders. If you’ve not done it, the time is now to check whether you are owed money. If you start your PPI application before the deadline, it’s still possible to reclaim what you’re owed.

Published on 28 Aug 2019 by Andrew Brown

Full Article

How interest rates are calculated

If you’ve ever applied for a form of credit, you may well have discovered to your cost that the advertised APR and the interest rate you’re offered if you are accepted can be very different things.

Published on 14 Jun 2019 by Richard Catlin

Full Article

The Importance of Proving Stability to Lenders

In addition to the key roles that your Credit History and Affordability play in determining whether or not you will be accepted for credit, we regularly talk about the importance of being able to demonstrate your ‘stability’ to potential lenders.

Published on 15 Mar 2019 by Sophie Regester

Full Article

If I Change My Name Can I Still Get Credit?

Legally changing your name is an increasingly popular thing to do in the UK: while getting married or divorced still makes up a large proportion of this, there is a growing trend towards people changing their name following civil partnerships, a change in gender, living in blended families, or simply because they’re seeking a change – the list is long.

Published on 22 Feb 2019 by Tom Magor

Full Article

Which Credit Report Information Can Landlords See

These days whenever you rent a property you may be required to pass checks set by the landlord or letting agent to prove that you will be a good tenant and that you’ll be able to reliably make rent payments to the property on time.

Published on 7 Feb 2019 by Kevin Pearce

Full Article

What Credit Checks Look For When You Switch Energy

As we get deeper into Winter, it’s inevitable that millions of consumers across the UK will end up using more energy and spending more on bills due to the colder weather and long stretches of darkness.

Published on 9 Jan 2019 by Jamie Mackenzie Smith

Full Article


We are rated number 1 for customer service on