Research released by Barclays indicates that well known brands and fraud protection give confidence to Internet users who shop or bank online - but 79% of surfers cite security fears as a bar to conducting financial transactions over the Web.
The research results compiled by NOP Solutions shows that 90 per cent of highly or quite confident Internet users who shop and organise their finances online, are confident because they only ever use companies with a good reputation. Eighty four per cent of Internet users state that an online customer guarantee against fraud would increase their confidence.
Ian Richardson, Barclays e-director comments: "Our research shows that as people spend more time online and undertake activities such as shopping or banking, their confidence increases. This is a key indicator that Internet usage will grow. By the end of 2001, we predict 2.5 million customers will be banking online with us."
He says Barclays is to introduce an online banking guarantee and offer free Internet security software in early 2001 in a bid to counter the fears of the 79% of Web-connected consumers who currently cite security worries as a major disincentive for banking online.
Currently over half of all Internet users shop online (51 per cent), but only 23 per cent bank online. Nonetheless, confidence in online financial transactions has increased dramatically in the past six months, says Barclays. Sixty-five per cent of Internet users say they are highly or quite confident about online financial transactions compared with 48 per cent six months ago.
The research forecasts that shopping online is set to increase - 39 per cent of those who don't use the Internet now see shopping as an incentive to start, while 22 per cent of Internet users who don't currently bank online will consider starting within a year. Forty-two per cent of non-Internet users questioned by NOP say they will go online in the future.