Online Banking Growth Slows, but Customers Using More Features

By May 12, 2010

The number of customers adopting online banking is slowing, but users are adopting a more diverse set of services than before, according to comScore’s annual “State of Online Banking” report. That said, there’s still a lon

g way to go until they adopt newer forms of online financial services like Personal Financial Tools.

Since comScore started tracking online banking, the number of U.S users visiting top-10 banking sites has grown from about 40 million in 2006 to more than 58 million in 2010. Sixty million U.S. users visit top-20 banking sites.

Growth is slowing. In the middle of the decade, online banking growth was 5 to 10 percent quarterly, but it has fallen to 1 to 2 percent per quarter.

The online banking market might be plateauing as far as overall users is concerned, but what’s important is that customers are becoming more active. The amount using online bill pay, for example, has grown 19 percent in the last year; almost two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents now use the service.

Automatic and recurring bill pay has also risen significantly in the last year, growing 10 percent to 52 percent of the total who bank online. Customers are also moving towards paperless accounts. The amount doing so grew 5 percent last year to 58 percent.

While customers have become more comfortable to online banking, they remain hesitant or unprepared to move to more sophisticated online financial tools. Only 30 percent of respondents expressed interest in using Personal Financial Tools (PFT), and only 10 percent knew that these types of sites exist.

Four percent of respondents use PFTs.

The recession has obviously changed customers’ relationships with their banks. The amount of importance users give to services like free checking, low minimum balance and the proximity to ATMs all dropped slightly between 2009 and 2010.

What has become more important, significantly more important? Customer service, which rose 18 points in the last year, with 22 percent of respondents rating it as important in 2010, versus only 4 percent who did so in 2009.

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