Paperless banking can make travel easier & greener

By Michele Scott
July 8th, 2010

Secil WatsonSecil Tabli Watson, named the No. 1 leading innovator by Bank Technology News in 2009, is Senior Vice President with Wells Fargo Internet and Mobile Banking services, and is responsible for Customer Experience, Money Movement and Retail Mobile Banking. Secil earned her bachelor degree in international relations and economics at Cornell University, and received an MBA at Wharton. Outside the office, she enjoys swimming, hiking at East Bay Regional Parks with her dog, and spending time with her sons.

Secil, like me, also loves to travel. That’s why I was excited to sit down and chat with her about how online and mobile banking can support greener travel. I hope you get some great information from our conversation!

Michele Rene Scott: Secil, what tips would you offer customers as they prepare for upcoming summer vacations or other travel?

Secil Watson: Good question! We know our customers want to keep track of their finances, and online and mobile banking lets them stay connected to their accounts, anywhere, anytime.

First, I’d suggest that they sign up for and use Bill Pay to avoid missed or late payments while traveling. Before leaving town, they should take a few minutes to schedule payments to be sent out before the bills are due.

If they can’t find the time to schedule payments in advance, they can use a mobile device or PC with Internet access to transfer money from one account to another or to pay their bill online, too.

Second, as they travel, they can stay on top of their account information with Account Alerts. Customers can sign up to have any of our alerts sent to the email addresses or mobile device they choose. They can receive alerts about low balances, when a credit card payment is due, or even when a deposit is made.

And third, they can make and store online back-up copies of important documents such as passports, personal records, and travel itineraries. When traveling, Wells Fargo vSafe® service helps travelers deal with potentially challenging situations by offering secure online storage of important personal documents with convenient online access.


Ways we can all bank greener:


Choose to handle daily finances online or via mobile browser or text banking. According to PayItGreen®, if only 20 percent of American households switched from paper to electronic bills, statements and payments each year, it would save 150 million pounds of paper and help avoid nearly two million tons of greenhouse gases

Reduce paper in our mailboxes. By choosing to receive financial statements and electronic bills online, and turning off paper statements, Wells Fargo customers have already saved more than 100,000 trees, according to the Environmental Defense Fund’s paper calculator.

Avoid printing ATM receipts. Instead, email them to yourself when feasible. If just 20 people refused to print an ATM receipt at each of the ATMs nationwide each day for a year, we’d save enough paper to circle the world at the equator nearly six times.

Go easy with the printer. We can save a lot of paper and keep paper savings real by not printing at home and by storing documents in a single, secure, internet-accessible location.


MRS: So what are some handy ways to use Wells Fargo’s mobile banking services while traveling?
SW: Well, customers can use their mobile phone to pay bills whether they’re on their way to the airport, riding in a taxi, or waiting to check-in at the hotel! They can also transfer money same-day to a cash-strapped travel partner, or to their family back home, as long as the other person also has a Wells Fargo checking or savings account.

Customers on the go can also access through our Android™, BlackBerry®, iPhone or Palm mobile banking apps to quickly log in to check their accounts or to find the nearest Wells Fargo ATMs.

Customers can also review their account details by using text banking. Just send a simple text (SMS) message, “BAL ALL,” to 93557, and they can view account information for their enrolled accounts. Or text “ATM” along with the city and state or ZIP code (ie. “ATM 94109” or “ATM San Francisco CA”) to view the closest Wells Fargo ATM or store locations.

MRS: So we really can help make travel easier while making banking greener?
SW: Certainly! By reducing or eliminating paper use in banking and bill pay transactions, and providing online access to important documents, we can help make banking greener and make customers’ bank information available in a secure fashion. [See “Some ways we can all bank greener” for more info.]

MRS: What’s one of the newest services customers should know about to keep on top of their money when they’re traveling?
SW: Rapid Alerts is a new service that Wells Fargo Visa® credit card customers can use to fight fraud and manage their finances. It’s a service that sends a text message alert to a cardholder’s mobile phone when a credit card transaction meets certain trigger criterion the cardholder sets, such as transactions over a certain dollar amount or when their card is used for an Internet purchase.

MRS: Last but not least, where should customers go for more information about banking resources for upcoming travel?
SW: We recently issued a press release with summertime travel tips. Please take a look! Also, if customers are interested in learning more about mobile banking, or want to share their own stories about how they use our online and mobile banking services, I will be sharing mobile banking tips on Tuesday, July 13 from @Ask_WellsFargo.

And as always, let us know if you have any questions or comments!

Tags:   Account Alerts   Bill Pay   mobile   Mobile Banking   Rapid Alerts   Secil Watson   text banking   tips   travel   Twitter   vSafe   


Rich Won July 12, 2010 at 7:48 pm:

Dear Secil,
I must say I have used dozens of websites to pay bills, and Wells Fargo Financial is the worst.
I manage a small team of site developers, and I am insulted that you would call your website useful.
I tried several times to establish an online account, and received an erroneous error message stating that my email address was in an incorrect format. I check my address several times, only to determine that it was NOT the actual error, it was that in the “acknowledgement” section which I did not type my first and last name. A non technical user would have never thought to look in this section.
Once I finally created my account, and I log in, whenever I selected an action item, I get logged out of my account.
I will now need to waste my money, possibly be late on making my payment, make the earth a little less greener by mailing my payment, due to your inept web development team.
PS. You also need have customer service for Wells Fargo Financial after 5pm. I work for a living, and am paid to work during you customer service available times. The only time I have to get online and pay bills is after 6pm.
Please do what you can to fix your site, and I will do what I can to try and call your representatives to make my payment.

Stephanie Ricoon July 14, 2010 at 11:23 am:

@Rich W, I’m sorry about your frustration with the payment. I’d like to help. Please send your contact information – full name, email address, phone number and best time to call you – to and Scott from our online group will help you address the issue. Thank you for letting us know.

Bill Mon October 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm:

Had my ID stolen via a interest income report that came from my old bank. Do you offer email only interest reports?

Stephanie Ricoon October 15, 2010 at 5:11 pm:

@Bill – Ugh! Did you know? The majority of identity theft and identity fraud occurs offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting mail, and rummaging through garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves use to obtain personal information.
Fraud prevention tips are available at:
Importantly, the answer to your question is yes. At Wells Fargo you can get 1099 and 1098 tax documents only online. The option is available on the “account services” tab within online banking. Otherwise, please talk to your banker for assistance in enrolling in online banking and eliminating both paper statements and tax documents. And, if you don’t already, please try receiving and paying bills online. Stephanie

James E Ingramon February 15, 2011 at 10:31 am:

As you sent me a letter for paperless on my savings account how do I apply everything comes up Checking and ATM. Pleas give special instructions for my Well Fargo Stock as it was moved to Advisors. James E Ingram

Krista Van Tasselon February 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm:

@James E Ingram – Thanks for wanting to go paperless! We asked around and found out all our clients who converted to Well Fargo Advisors need to re-establish their delivery preferences. You can do so a couple ways: 1) The first time you log into Wells Fargo Online (or after January 11, 2011, you’ll be automatically prompted to re-select your paperless preferences; or 2) Log in to or and turn on electronic document delivery by clicking on “Delivery Preferences” on the left navigation bar, selecting “All,” and saving your settings. Hope that helps! Thanks for your comment and please let us know if you need additional assistance.

online sms geekon May 17, 2011 at 2:44 am:

Internet banking is a great tool. It saves you a lot of time and waiting in the long lines.

Anonymouson August 29, 2011 at 9:22 pm:

Thanks for the post, Michele! I recently switched my Wells Fargo Advisors account statements from paper to electronic delivery. The paper I save, along with choosing environmentally-aware travel choices (like taking public transport when visiting a new city instead of renting a car), will bring us one tiny step closer to a cleaner, greener world.

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