Canadian consumers switch on to online banking

Canadian consumers switch on to online banking

The percentage of Canadians who bank primarily through the Internet has doubled in the past two years, according to a new poll by the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA).

The study reveals sixteen per cent of respondents to the survey use the Internet as the primary means through which they conduct the majority of their financial transactions, compared with eight per cent in a similar CBA poll two years ago.

The new survey also shows approximately one-third of respondents now do at least some of their banking online and 56 per cent expect to be banking over the Internet within the next two to three years, compared with 46 per cent in 2000.

Some 40 per cent of Canadians now bank primarily through ATMs, while eight per cent bank mainly by phone and 30 per cent bank mainly in person.

Three quarters of respondents (76 per cent) continue to say that the technologies available at their main financial institution have made their personal banking more convenient. Eighty-six per cent of respondents say they feel that debit cards had improved banking for them, while 85 per cent feel the same way about access to a national cash machine network. Almost as many respondents (79 per cent) say that the ability to conduct transactions over the telephone or online improves banking.

"What these figures tell us is that Canadians have an ever-increasing appetite for new technology, and they are embracing the range of choices banks are providing to them, including in-person service," says Raymond Protti, president and CEO of the Canadian Bankers Association.

Protti continues: "In our view, what makes Canadian banking so successful as an e-commerce enterprise is a combination of substantial investments in new technology and the steady growth of a system which offers people choice and convenience in how, when and where they handle their financial affairs."

Last year, Canada's six largest banks alone spent $3.7 billion on technology - just over double the $1.8 billion in annual spending five years ago and a cumulative total of close to $17 billion over the past five years.

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