Most AP professionals are well aware of the environmental benefits of moving to online bill payment. The same benefits, not surprisingly, apply at home. Just by moving to online bill payment, a household can save more than six pounds of paper and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 171 pounds annually, according to a recent study by PayItGreen, a partnership between financial institutions, financial industry service providers, and businesses. Among its founding members are Wells Fargo, Fiserv, J.P. Morgan, and The Clearing House/EPN. NACHA, or The Electronic Payments Association is the managing partner of PayItGreen.

What’s more, the individual savings add up. If just two percent of all households in the U.S. shifted to electronic billing and payment, more than 15 million pounds of paper and 390 million pounds of greenhouse gases would be saved annually, the study found.
To be sure, PayItGreen has an incentive to promote online bill payment, as many financial institutions save money when they work with customers electronically, instead of via paper. However, other studies have found similar benefits. A 2007 study by Javelin Strategy & Research, San Francisco, also found that moving to online billing offered compelling savings. By their calculations, if all U.S. households viewed and paid their bills online, the country would save 2.3 million tons of wood, or 16.5 million trees. On top of that, greenhouse gas emission would drop by 3.9 billion pounds – the same as taking 355,000 cars off the roads.

Have you moved to online bill payment at home? Why or why not?