As confidence in the Internet rises, people are more willing to manage their financial affairs online. The results are encouraging news for Internet pureplay and ‘bricks and clicks’ banks alike – but their challenge now is to persuade people to perform still more complex transactions over the Internet.
According to figures from Barclays, online confidence in UK consumers is at its highest ever level.
A new study, commissioned by UK bank Barclays, has found that while people are not spending more time online, the nature of what they are doing online is changing. The novelty factor of the Internet is wearing off, and people are increasingly using it for services that offer real benefits.
Familiarity with online applications is increasing confidence, which in turn increases the number of features people are using. This has filtered through to online banking – the number of online financial services users has increased to eight million in the UK.
The research also found that there remains a significant differential between the number of males and females banking online. This is in line with recent Datamonitor research. Banks should cash in on this opportunity by targeting women who already access the Internet in a bid to encourage them to bank online. This could represent a lucrative growth opportunity for providers, as the percentage of women online rises.
The challenge facing financial service institutions is not only to encourage more people to use online banking, but also to further increase the complexity of the tasks that they perform. Providers should encourage their customers to move away from simply checking balances and transferring money between accounts, towards arranging payments and additional products such as insurance and finance on the Internet.