Nearly 20% of the active US Web population visited online banks and credit unions in March 2003, according to the latest Internet audience measurement and analyses from Nielsen//NetRatings.
Nielsen//NetRatings reports that 25 million surfers logged on to bank sites for an average of 52 minutes during the month.
Bank of America topped the table by attracting more than 6.1 million unique visitors and also claimed the top ranking as the stickiest destination with surfers spending more than an hour on the site.
Citibank came in a close second with 5.5 million surfers, representing an increase of 57% from a year ago. Traffic to Wells Fargo jumped 34% to 4.7 million unique visitors, and Chase Manhattan Bank and Bank One recorded 2.9 and 2.8 million visitors, respectively.
Patrick Thomas, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings says banks are expertly using the Web as an additional channel to serve customers.
"Many sites allow clients to conduct multiple tasks such as pay bills, manage chequeing and savings accounts, and even access other financial accounts," adds Thomas.
The research also shows that the banking and credit card category equally attracted both men (51%) and women (49%) surfers and the key 18-49 demographic age group represented nearly 70% of the category's total audience.
Individuals with household incomes ranging from $50,000 to $74,999 represented 30% of all surfers logging on bank sites while surfers with household incomes of $150,000 and higher comprised just seven per cent.
"The Web offers an ideal situation for banks to target their key audience, allowing them to offer special perks to draw clients online," says Thomas. "Online banks have to continually update their service offerings to attract and maintain customers."