At Last Internet Banking Takes Off

ABA Banking Journal, July 1999 | Go to article overview

At Last Internet Banking Takes Off


Remote banking--via telephone, ATM, and PCs--has been with us for about two decades, always touted as the innovation that will sweep in the cashless economy. But it hasn't happened yet. At the end of 1998, about 7 million households--representing about 7% of all households--were banking from PCs. Despite this, optimism springs eternal from the computations of marketing folk. Now, they observe, "we're not in Kansas anymore." The Internet, with its glorious promises of e-commerce and e-fun, has permanently changed everything, to paraphrase IBM's Lou Gerstner. Including banking. By the end of 2001, some 18.3 million households will be banking from PCs, almost all of it over the Internet, according to research by Gartner Group's Dataquest unit. That's a growth rate of 41% per year. Other analysts are looking for double that number. Why is Internet banking taking off now? Analysts and banking executives generally agree on two main reasons: the Internet is becoming a familiar, trusted mass medium; and anytime, any where electronic banking is a perfect fit for today's and tomorrow's time-pressured lifestyles.

Today, 49% of all households have PCs, Dataquest finds, and 37% of all households can and do access the Internet. By 2003, those numbers will reach 65% and 58%, respectively. After that, growth should level off. Comments Dataquest analyst Mark Snowden: "By then, just about every home that wants a PC or Internet access will have it."

By 2003, according to this analysis, users will be "surrounded" by Internet access points: their PCs, their TVs, their cell phones. Internet demographics are already changing fast--more women and older people are using it, for example. …

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