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More than half of UK regularly banks online, claims ONS

Matthew Finnegan | Aug. 11, 2014
Internet banking was most popular with 25 to 34 year olds but was less likely to be used by 16 to 24 year olds.

More than half of the UK population has banked online in the past three months, an Office of National Statistics (ONS) survey has revealed.

The 2014 Internet Access report showed 53 percent of adults are now using internet banking regularly, up from 50 percent the previous year, and 30 percent in 2007.

However, internet banking lags behind other use cases, such as sending emails, 75 percent, finding information about goods and services, 73 percent, accessing online news, 55 percent, and social media, 54 percent.

Overall, 38 million adults, 76 percent, accessed the internet each day, up from 35 percent in 2006.

Internet banking was most popular with 25-34 year olds, 71 percent, but was less likely to be used by the youngest group surveyed - 16-24 year olds - with 56 percent accessing information online.

The report also found that 55-64 year olds, 47 percent, and those over 65, 23 percent, were more likely to use online banking than social networking.

Men were slightly more likely to use online banking, 54 percent, than women, 52 percent.

The continued growth in popularity of online and mobile banking has led to a number of high street lenders reducing the size of their branch network in order to reduce costs, with investments focused on improving digital channels.

For example, Royal Bank of Scotland recently announcing plans to spend £1 billion on modernising customer-facing systems, though banks are still upgrading branches, such as HSBC and Barclays, which have invested in iPads and in-store wifi to encourage online banking.

However, while banks have spent on front-end systems, the underlying legacy infrastructure has proved unreliable and led to regular outages, resulting in an investigation by UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.

Commenting on the ONS figures, British Bankers' Association chief executive Anthony Browne, said: "It's great that more people than ever are banking online. Banks are working hard to make online banking accessible to everyone and online and mobile banking mean it's now easier than ever to stay on top of your finances.

"Of course we recognise that internet banking isn't for everyone, and that's why across the country the bank branch network is being modernised to ensure that all customers get the best possible service."

A recent BBA report published last week, which claimed that £1 billion digital transactions are now made each day in the UK.

 

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