The most popular method of banking has seen a drastic shift. Two out of three people in the United States and Canada now use online banking at least once a week according to a recent study.

This new data was gathered by surveying 1,500 Americans and Canadians. It not only confirms a noticeable trend towards online banking, but it actually gives hope.

Back in 1999, 14 million trees were cut down for paper bag production in America alone. This has been the case in subsequent years, but it only tells half the story.

The total number of trees cut down yearly is over 1,000 times that. Research conducted in 2015 suggests that 15 billion trees are cut down every year. This is no small sum, as the study also suggests the world’s tree population is only 46% of what it was before human civilization.

It’s good then that we are moving to a digitalized world, especially for online billing. If 20% of Americans switched over from paper bills to only receiving them electronically, 151 million pounds of paper would be saved.

There are some issues that need to be addressed, such as improving cybersecurity for financial institutions. With the recent Equifax hack and countless other breaches in online security, some might be hesitant.

Advancements in cryptography and the development of cryptocurrencies are attempting to answer the increasing demand for secure online finances. The widespread appeal is yet in its infancy, but perhaps it will someday help reduce society’s dependence on paper.

Until then, we look to the banks to make it as convenient as possible to renounce the use of paper in favor of online banking. However, while many young Americans do prefer to use mobile and online banking, their jobs are preventing them.

Many college students work tip-based jobs. Bartenders, delivery drivers, servers, and tutors are often paid the larger half of their wage with cash. Even if they set up direct deposit, frequent trips to the bank are inevitable.

The road ahead is fairly clear, though. Eventually, the majority of the world will rely on online banking. Until then, the trees continue to be cut down.