Nearly a quarter of the adult population in Canada manage their finances online, according to new research from NFO CFgroup.
The report, "How Canadians Bank", reveals that 24% of adults have signed up for online banking, up from 20% the same time last year. The study also indicates that six out of ten users click on their account at least once a week, while 82% say they usually bank online at least once a month, up from 77% in 2000.
Rhonda Grunier, vice-president of NFO CFgroup, says: “Canadians are increasingly handling their finances electronically. Usage of Internet and telephone banking, as well as bank machines is up this year, while visits to bank branches have declined. Also, a growing number of Canadians are using debit cards, while fewer are writing cheques.”
The research firm conducted 2034 telephone interviews during October to analyse the banking behaviour of the Canadian adult population.
Results show the majority of Canadians continue to deal with their financial institution at the branch level: 58% report visiting a branch in the past month to conduct a transaction with a teller or other branch staff, although this is down from 61% in each of the past two years.
Automated banking machines (ABM) are the most popular means of conducting routine transactions such as paying bills, transferring money between accounts and doing balance inquiries. Seventy-nine per cent of Canadian adults report having used an ABM in the past month, up from 76% a year ago. ABMs have overtaken branches as the preferred means of depositing cash and cheques.
However, Canadians are increasingly turning to the Internet and telephone for doing such day-to-day transactions. Forty per cent are now signed up for telephone banking, up from 35% last year.
Grunier adds: “Online and telephone banking are popular among Canadians for routine, day-to-day transactions, but are less accepted when it comes to acquiring financial products or services where important decisions are made or where people might need to seek advice. While it is possible to open an account, apply for a loan or mortgage, buy insurance, and purchase an investment online or over the telephone, Canadians strongly prefer doing these things in person at a financial institution."
Registration for online trading has increased dramatically over the past year among Canadians with an account at a discount broker, from 47% to 63%; however, trading frequency is down sharply. Weekly users of online trading have fallen from 53% to 25% of registrants.