Forum: Firms should be clear about paperless objective

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) as well as stockbroker UOB Kay Hian recently sent me letters saying they want to help tackle climate change and adopt environmentally friendly practices.

The letters informed me that monthly physical statements relating to my accounts with them will cease.

While I support green initiatives, it appears in these cases to be lose-lose for customers and win-win for businesses.

I will have to sign in online to access my statements. If I need paper copies, the printing effort and cost will be mine.

On the other hand, UOB Kay Hian and SGX will both save on costs and manpower by stopping the dispatch of once-a-month statements.

The two are now telling clients that they will have to pay to get their own statements on paper in future: $10 a month per account for UOB Kay Hian and $25.68 for a 12-month period for SGX.

Businesses should be clear about their objective in going paperless: Is it to save the Earth or to make more money?

Businesses that stop sending consumers physical statements will save money and effort.

But instead of passing these savings on to consumers, they are asking consumers to pay to continue a service already in existence.

Older consumers, especially those less computer-savvy, are harder hit by such digital initiatives. They often do not have a choice.

I appeal to all businesses to be sincere in the digitalisation push. Pass digitalisation savings back to clients.

And if some clients prefer the status quo, make it easy and costless for them.

Mano Sabnani

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