Sure, there has been a shift in consumer expectations around how they send and receive payments. In fact, the amount of American consumers using digital payments increased to 82% this past year. Digital payments can be faster and easier, with some solutions reducing payments that used to take weeks to under four minutes. But there are more benefits to digital payments than just convenience.

They also provide an opportunity to significantly reduce paper, energy, and emissions. As a company committed to environmental and social responsibility initiatives, we wanted to highlight just how much of an impact switching from paper checks to digital payments can have on our planet.

One tiny check = hundreds of thousands of trees

Paper checks require paper to be printed, mailed and stored. According to BNY Mellon, 2.3 billion checks are collected from their customers each year, which equates to around 455,000 trees. Consider too, that paper from checks and envelopes are also then typically discarded (either to a landfill or recycled) within about 90 days. And that’s just for one financial institution.

Lower carbon footprint

Digital payments also have a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional payment methods. Transporting paper checks and invoices requires fuel to power the transportation vehicles, leading to emissions. In contrast, digital payments can be made instantly across devices, eliminating the need for transportation entirely and reducing overall carbon emissions. Saving those 455,000 trees in the example above would be the same as taking nearly 5,000 passenger cars off the road for one year.

Reduced energy consumption

One of the biggest detractors of physical, paper payments is the need for manual follow-up. By nature, paper checks introduce the risk of escheatment –– i.e., when a check expires without being claimed and the state takes control back of the unclaimed funds. Maybe the receiver lost the check. Maybe they just forgot to deposit it. Any number of reasons can lead to escheatment, which then requires the payer to either issue another check or follow up manually with the payee, typically by phone or email. Digital payments, on the other hand, can be automated, which leads to less manual intervention and overall energy consumption.

Better data management

Digital payments also provide better data management than traditional payment methods. Digital payment platforms can store payment data securely, making it easier for businesses to track and manage their finances. This increased visibility into financial data can help businesses make more informed decisions and reduce waste and inefficiencies.

As the world continues to shift towards a more sustainable future, businesses are increasingly exploring ways to reduce their environmental impact. Digital payments can be processed quickly and accurately, reducing the time and resources needed to manage payments. By adopting digital payments and going paperless, companies can:

  • Reduce the amount of paper, ink and power used for payments
  • Lower the cost and waste of producing and mailing paper statements
  • Lessen the risk of theft of personal information during mail transfer and disposal
  • Save and access statements digitally at any time
  • Dramatically reduce the risk of escheatment and manual follow-up

Through delivering digital payment solutions to clients, Conduent can help organizations become more sustainable by reducing paper waste, lowering carbon emissions, and decreasing energy consumption. Additionally, digital payments offer increased efficiency and better data management, leading to cost savings and better decision-making. As more companies adopt digital payment methods, we can collectively work towards a better future, together. To learn more about enabling your organization with a fast, secure and streamlined method for collecting and distributing payments