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Online banking beats old ways

December 11, 2002

Convenience, time-savings lure 37 million people

Inman News Features

Banking on the Internet is now a fairly common task that rivals instant messaging in its popularity, according to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Not many Internet users had sampled such convenience activities as online banking and travel in March 2000, when the Pew project first included questions about those activities in its Internet use survey. Only 17 percent of Internet users or about 14 million people in the United States at that time had tried online banking. But that figure today has ballooned to 32 percent of Internet users or about 37 million people.

The 164 percent growth rate of online banking use over the two-year period surpassed the 90 percent growth in online travel, 78 percent growth in online product purchases, 69 percent growth in online auctions, 45 percent growth in online game-playing, 40 percent growth in online stock transactions, 38 percent growth in finding hobby information online and 32 percent growth in finding financial information online, according to the Pew report.

But the 37 million raw number of people banking online still is dwarfed by the number of people using the Internet for some of the other activities. Ninety million people hunt online for hobby information, 73 million buy products online, 59 million make online travel reservations and 49 million find financial information online, the report noted.

Convenience and time-saving were the top two reasons people cited when they were asked why they switched to online banking.

Online bankers are somewhat more likely to be male, younger than 49 years old, affluent and college-degreed.

The Pew report was based on a daily tracking survey of U.S. Internet use and telephone interviews of 2,092 adults conducted by Princeton Survey Research Association in September and October.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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