To store or not to store is the big question…. that everyone, especially the earning members of our society, has to face regularly to keep their records correctly updated for future reference. Often, we misplace some essential documents when we require them the most or cannot remember where we have stored them, which results in stress and anxiety.
As we have seen from our childhood, our parents and grandparents used to (still do!) have these big steel almirahs (Godrej). It was used to store various files and folders– loads of papers, small, big, and large ones. Once a year, they sat down to sort out the pile and find the required documents. But now, many things have changed. We have better technology that can be leveraged to store and organise various documents. Besides, most documents are issued and accepted digitally, from common identity proofs, loan documents, medical-life insurance policies, motor vehicle insurance papers, investment-related documents, etc.
So, we come back to the same question….
How do we store securely?
To make life simpler and stress-free, there are a couple of ways by which your documents (Identifications or Financial) can be stored in a secure and efficient way, and it’s very easy to use. You can also teach your children early so they get into the habit of storing their documents efficiently and securely.
What are the options we have by which we can store the documents?
Document Management Systems: These are companies specialised in managing documents, mainly used by companies or organisations which employ large volumes of the workforce. This service can also be used by a personal family with extended family members and nuclear families so that their documents are kept safely and securely. This service is provided by companies like “Kleeto.in”, where the user first creates an account with a USER ID and PASSWORD. Once the account is created, Kleeto.in collects the original documents, and the scanned documents are made available in the individual user accounts online. When the original documents are required, a request can be made, and the physical documents are made available in 2-3 days. Similarly, “ITRvault.in” helps its users to upload tax and income-related documents with a few clicks of a mouse button and helps its users to file income tax through their site. The website also sends notifications to its registered users about income tax-related updates from the Ministry of Finance. In all these service providers, thorough verification and understanding are essential in availing of these services. The data is stored in a much more secure location in an encrypted format which minimises the risk of fraud.
Digi Locker: The Government of India (Ministry of Electronics and IT), under the Digital India Program, has introduced a free App for all citizens for storing various official documents issued by GOI and other institutions. The documents stored in the Digi Locker App are as effective and acceptable as your physical documents. This App is a very good alternative to carrying identity proofs and financial documents physically, which always runs a risk of getting lost, damaged, or misplaced. This app helps us to store documents like our Aadhar Card, Pan Card, Voter’s Card, and Driver’s Licence. Moreover, it also extends its base towards storing school/college mark sheets, insurance papers, and health records. Some of the uploaded documents are also accepted in various places as equivalent to physical proofs. They can also be used for various authentication processes like KYC and other verification.
Personal Computer/Laptop: The best and safest place is to keep your documents hidden from plain sight or keep scanned copies in marked folders with the names of individual documents with date stamps. There are various Apps for PC (laptops) and mobile phones where one can scan documents, crop and enhance them according to requirements, send and store them in your personal mail accounts and share them with your spouse and designated family members for easy access. The most common difficulty or issue one can face while storing documents on computers is if there is a fault with your desktop’s or laptop’s hardware (hard disk) or a virus attack that might result in loss of data (all or parts). The safest advice is to store and make several copies, like in pen drives, external hard disks, and Google Drive to retrieve them in an emergency. Make sure to use original software and proper antivirus and avoid using cheap and pirated copies of software.
So summing up the avenues mentioned above for storing financial documents, one should follow a mix of all to be on the safe side. Preferably we should store documents in a combination of 3 places. For example, one copy should be kept physically under lock and key but accessible to you and selective family members, second in a cloud-based service, and third, a service like Digi Locker can be used. Thank you for taking the time to read. Let me know in the comments how you have been storing your documents until now.
If you have a question, share it in the comments below or DM us or call us – +91 9051052222. We’ll be happy to answer it.
– Avishek Pyne