Canadians top for online banking

Canadians top for online banking

Canadians lead the way when it comes to Internet banking adoption, with over two thirds of the country's Web users - around 15.5 million people - managing their finances online, according to figures from Web metrics firm comScore.

Of 37 countries studied, Canada came top on Internet banking adoption in April 2008, way ahead of the UK, with 49.5% of Internet users, the US on 44.4% and Australia with 41.7%.

Canadians also lead the way in online banking frequency, with an average of eight usage days and 10.5 visits per user in April. Users spent an average of 46 minutes on banking sites during the month, viewing around 121 pages.

Royal Bank of Canada is the most popular site, with 4.6 million visitors in April, although this was two per cent down on the same month in 2007. TD Bank had 4.5 million visitors, up two per cent.

The big gainer though was Bank of Montreal which received three million visitors, a 22% rise on April 2007.

However, the figures suggest that the general online banking market in Canada may be reaching saturation point, with the total number of unique visitors up only two per cent on the same period in 2007, compared to a four per cent rise in the total Internet audience.

Brent Bernie, president, Media Metrix, comScore Canada, says this means "banks need to closely examine how they are meeting the needs of their consumers online if they are to achieve customer growth and retention through this increasingly important channel".

Around three quarters of 25 to 44 year olds use online banking services compared to 63% among those aged 55 and older.

Penetration among Canadians aged 45 to 54 is nearly as high as 25 to 44 year olds - 73% - but they are also the heaviest users, visiting banking sites 12 times a month and viewing 157 pages. ComScore suggests this may be because this age group confronts more financial challenges than others, including retirement planning and paying for their kids' university education.

Canada may have come out on top in the comScore report but figures released earlier this year by bank processing firm EDB Business Partners suggest Norway is the market leader, with nearly the entire adult population - about four million people - now using Internet banking services.

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