Net banking gains popularity, study says

The number of Americans banking online has risen to 40 percent over the past two years, according a new study.

The number of Americans turning to the Internet for personal banking at least some of the time has risen to 40 percent from 23 percent two years ago, according to a new study.

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The number of transactions per customer has also increased, according to market research company Ipsos-Insight, which based its conclusions on a survey of 1,000 Americans. Customers' online transactions include account balance inquiries, fund transfers and bill payments.

"Increased points of contact with the customer underscores the importance of an easy-to-use, secure Web site with basic cross-selling capabilities, as the Web site and the ATM may be the customer?s primary interaction with the bank," Kerri Ryan, vice president at Ipsos-Insight, said in a statement. "In 2002, half of online bankers told us they pay bills online; now virtually all customers banking online" do so.


The study said that nearly 64 percent of online bill payers make payments by going directly to a company's Web site. Bill payment through one's bank is the second-most-favored online mode, one used by 50 percent of online bill payers. Ipsos-Insight analysts said banks should consider improving their bill-payment features to draw customers' attention. An earlier study estimated that in the first quarter, 4.6 million people used online bill-payment services at the country's top 10 banks.

The popularity of Web banking has been hampered somewhat because of rising concerns about the theft of personal financial information via phishing scams. Last week, another threat was reported: a Trojan horse that records the details of e-banking transactions.

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