Study: Customers embrace online banking

In a study released this week, the firm also says online banking trials with Internet users almost quadrupled over the last two years -- from 9 per cent in 1998 to 35 per cent in 2000. This acceptance of undertaking online banking will grow substantially, claiming 46 per cent of Internet users will have banked online by March 2002.

An indication of this popularity is the growth achieved by the Commonwealth Bank. The Commonwealth by February this year had reached one million online customers. These customers cover all of the bank's online finance offerings including NetBank, ComSec, HomePath, MobileBank and QuickLine.

Bernadette Fifield, the Commonwealth's general manager ecomm, said NetBank has experienced growth of more than 66 per cent during the six months from June 2000 to December 2000. She said the growth in customers has been matched by a huge leap in the total value of NetBank transactions, increasing from more than $395 million in June 2000 to over $674 million in December 2000.

Red Sheriff said reasons for this growth are many. This includes higher offline fees and the closure of many local branches, as well as online banking offering greater convenience coupled with the perception of greater control over the transaction process.

The study also found online bill payments grew in parallel to the enormous growth of online banking. Use of these services by Net users, especially to pay gas, water and electricity bills, almost tripled in the last 12 months and is expected to reach 49 per cent of by the end of the year.

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Howard Dahdah

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