More consumers are continuing to incorporate online banking into their daily routines, according to new research from TowerGroup's e-banking service.
The report, "Internet Banking in North America: Moving to Where the Action Will Be", points out that as the online channel becomes more mainstream, burgeoning consumer acceptance is laying the foundation for significant e-banking growth over the next few years.
The research shows a growing percentage of US consumers finding significant value in online banking in conjunction with other PC-based activities (such as the management of household finances or online tax preparation). Forty-four per cent of US households with PCs are using those computers for financial transactions or management.
Nearly 44 million households can be classified as primarily remote users (using non-bank branch channels) or mixed-remote users in their banking habits. Nearly 60% of the 19 million households that are deemed affluent are primarily remote banking users. However, the majority of US households use either two (26%), three (24%) or four (20%) different delivery channels to conduct their financial services business.
Frank Caruana, vice president of the e-banking and mobile financial strategies research and advisory services, says: "With the Web-based channel now a firm part of the financial services landscape, our research finds online banking entering a new stage in its evolution. It is a stage where consumers will become much more demanding in terms of service, reliability and access to enhanced transactional capabilities."
He notes that customer satisfaction will play a critical role in driving the continued growth of online banking. "Financial services firms must expand the range of services they provide online...Institutions must also carefully watch their online performance to ensure that they provide online users with at least 99.9% 'up-time,'" says Caruana.
He adds that, overall, financial services companies seeking to satisfy and retain current customers must find effective ways to aggregate information about what consumers are doing online with data across all channels - thereby gaining a complete picture of customers' needs and preferences.