Web banking nets one million more women

Web banking nets one million more women

The popularity of Internet banking is growing more rapidly among women than men, according to a poll of UK consumers conducted on behalf of building society Nationwide.

Since the end of last year, about one million more women in Britain have begun banking over the Internet - compared with 600,000 men. While men are still more likely to be banking online, the gender gap is swiftly shrinking says Nationwide, which polled 1060 women and 986 men for the research.

The figures indicate that the numbers of men banking online rose 23 per cent to three million in the first five months of 2001. In the same period, the number of women logging on doubled to about two million. Nationwide anticipates that the number of women organising their finances over the Net will equal that of men early next year, when more than eight million people are expected to be banking online.

Currently, 16 per cent of all men and 10 per cent of women with a current account are banking online. Men are still the heaviest users of the Internet, with 46 per cent of male Internet users logging on every day, compared with 30 per cent of females. Figures for those using the Internet just once a week are 18 per cent for women and 17 per cent for men.

Other findings from the Nationwide research, conducted by Mori, include:
* One in three homes are now connected to the Internet;
* 5.1 million people are banking online. Take-up varies with age, though - 22% of all 25 to 34 year olds are net bankers. Among 55 to 64 year olds, the figure is 8%;
* Only 13% of Internet bankers say this is their sole method of dealing with their banking provider. Eighty-seven per cent use a bank or building society branch, at least occasionally. A further 74% say they make use of the telephone.

Nationwide's own figures appear to back-up the poll's findings: Total registrations were up 225,000 to around 700,000 in the first five months of 2001, with women accounting for about 145,000 or 65% of this growth.

Jim Willens, Nationwide's e-commerce director, says: "The days when the Internet was the preserve of a technology-minded minority - historically male - are fast disappearing."

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