Do you bank online? If not, then you could be persuaded in the not-too-distant future, as research from the Payments Council has found that a growing number of people are interested in giving it a go.
The survey found that 78% of respondents could potentially use online banking in the UK, and seven in 10 of those already do so. A further 10% are, or may be, interested in taking the plunge and heading online, for the simple reason that there are so many benefits to it.
The ability to check balances or make payments at their leisure was cited as the main benefit of internet banking, with around three-quarters of interested non-users agreeing that this was a useful feature. And, it seems that once people have tried online banking, they don't go back – lapsed users (those who have tried internet banking in the past but don't use it anymore) only account for 2% of those surveyed, highlighting the popularity and benefits of this kind of service.
So, just why are some people not convinced? Well, the most common barrier to using online banking appears to be a concern about security, closely followed by lack of confidence and a lack of familiarity. The survey found that just 15% of interested non-users were 'very confident' that online banking was safe and secure, but the methods of increasing that security were also a point of concern, with 24% worried about remembering PINs or passwords.
Meanwhile, for those who had no interest in trying online banking whatsoever (20%), the key reason was that they preferred to conduct their banking activities face-to-face (30%). Security was again a key barrier (26%), but some simply found their current banking method convenient (27%) and others didn't bank very often (11%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the lack of interest in going online was particularly pronounced among the older age groups, with just one in six non-users aged 65+ saying they'd be interested in giving it a go.
Maurice Cleaves, interim chief executive of the Payments Council, commented on the findings: "Checking a balance or sending a quick, secure payment online is something that many of us take for granted, and yet millions are potentially missing out. If you haven't tried internet banking but think you would like to, contact your bank or building society for more information on how to get started."
Good advice, and something that a lot of non-users will hopefully take on board. In many cases, setting up online is a very quick and simple process, and it can be far more convenient than needing to head to a high street branch – particularly as these are disappearing rapidly. Online systems are highly secure so there needn't be any concern about safety, but if you're still slightly worried, the Payments Council has issued advice on how to stay safe. Their tips include:
Remember, you have legal protection from any fraud losses if you use this form of banking (provided you've kept your details secure and aren't a knowing party to the fraud), and your bank is legally required to refund an unauthorised transaction. So, given the security and convenience, why not give it a go? Most banks have some form of online service these days so get in touch with your provider, or if you're not happy with your account, now could be a great time to switch to benefit even more!
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