Despite common assumptions that young, educated and wealthy consumers are more likely to use electronic banking technology, a study by Ohio State University has found that marketing, not demographics, is key to the adoption of Web banking services.
The study examined the role that factors such as age, income, and education play in the adoption of e-banking and found that people who believed that the technology was useful, reliable, secure and easy to use were more likely to try it, regardless of age and background.
Jinkook Lee, professor of consumer and textile sciences at Ohio State University and lead author of the study, says the young and affluent use electronic banking more often only because banks market the technology to them.
"Banks are driving the demographics of their customers with their own targeted marketing campaigns," says Lee. "We found that once people were introduced to a banking service, what really mattered was their personal attitude about the technology, regardless of their age, income, or education."
People's belief in the security of electronic banking was key to their willingness to try it, the researchers found. An opportunity to try the technology firsthand also boosted adoption rates.
One possible strategy for banks to increase the use of online banking would be to market to "early adopters" - people who like to try new products and services - regardless of demographic. The early adopters would then influence others, Lee says.