Online bank accounts turn 10

Tuesday, 22 May 2007 12:00

Ten years after internet banking arrived in the UK around one Briton in three is taking advantage of the added convenience and better deals available online.

That is according to new figures from Nationwide Building Society showing some 37 per cent of British adults now use online banking.

On May 27th 1997 Nationwide became the first UK current account provider to launch online banking, since then the popularity and possibilities of banking online have grown – with users able to transfer cash, check statements, amend and set up standing orders and direct debits and even vote in Nationwide’s AGM.

And as the internet, broadband, and PCs and laptops have become ever-more familiar to the UK’s population, the ease and convenience of internet banking has seen more and more people move towards it.

While just 13,000 people signed up to Nationwide’s online banking service in 1997, one person in nine had signed up for internet banking by 2001, and one in five by 2003.

“Internet banking has continued to be developed and enhanced over the last ten years and there is no doubt that it will attract more and more users,” said Mik Hodsdon, divisional director at Nationwide.

“Since the launch, we have developed a number of systems which make it easier for our customers to do business with us.

“Today they can complete their mortgage application online, transfer funds from one account to another and they can even replace their paper statements by receiving statements online.”

When asked why they bank online, 53 per cent say they think it is convenient, 50 per cent say online banking is easy to use, with one in four saying it is faster.

One in nine uses internet banking as they cannot always get to a branch while one in 25 accesses their accounts online to reduce their paperwork.

Of those that do not use online banking, one in four prefers to deal with people face to face or over the telephone, and 69 per cent do not think it is safe.

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