New research released by high street bank Lloyds TSB has found that almost a quarter of UK adults (24%) use online banking services because they are too embarrassed to talk about their finances over the phone or face to face.
The research shows that the majority of UK adults (54%) now prefer to do their banking online and many customers are turning to the Internet to manage their financial affairs because they are too embarrassed to talk to bank staff.
Anita Hockin, head of Internet banking, Lloyds TSB, says: "Money is one of the few subjects that many people still feel uncomfortable talking about, even with their bank. Internet banking has become increasingly popular in recent years, not just because it's convenient, but because it gives people privacy when it comes to managing their money."
But Hockin adds that despite the benefits of online banking "it's important that people don't end up burying their heads in the sand. Sometimes it can be worth picking up the phone or calling into a branch to talk through more complex matters".
The survey found that the desire for privacy is a major factor in the decision to bank online, with 45% of respondents citing this as a reason. Around 43% say they'd feel more comfortable applying for a loan via the Internet rather than speaking to bank staff, while more than a third (38%) are more likely to apply for an overdraft on the Web. A further third (32 per cent) say that they'd prefer to apply for a credit card online.
"Despite all the benefits of online banking, it's important that people don't end up burying their heads in the sand. Sometimes it can be worth picking up the phone or calling into a branch to talk through more complex matters especially if you have any particular worries."
While Internet banking is attractive to people who feel shy talking about money matters, the survey found that 87% of customers bank online to save time. Almost three quarters (70%) of respondents feel Web banking makes life easier and over half (58%) say that it puts them in control of their money.
The survey also found that the vast majority of customers (90%) feel that online banking takes the stress out of managing their money. A massive 92% said that banking online encourages them to check their bank balance more often.