Internet Changing the Way Canadians Bank

Two in 10 Canadians are signed up for Internet banking, double the number from a year ago, according to a study by Canadian Facts, a division of CF Group Inc.

Those registered for banking services use them frequently. Nearly 60 percent report accessing their account at least once a week. More than three-quarters (77 percent) say they usually bank online at least once a month, the “Banking Services Delivery Study.”

“Compared to other methods of banking, Internet banking has seen the biggest jump in usage over the past year,” said Rhonda Grunier, senior research director of Canadian Facts. “And it will continue to increase. Sixteen percent of Canadians who are not signed up for Internet banking say they are fairly likely to register for this service within the next six months.”

Among Canadians not planning to sign up with their financial institution for online banking, the main reason cited is a lack of a computer and/or an Internet connection, mentioned by 32 percent of those not planning to register. Security is another concern, mentioned by 20 percent of all non-registrants, but by 33 percent of those with Internet access at home. In total, 64 percent of Canadians claim to now have an Internet connection at home or at work, up from 54 percent in 1999.

In addition to the Internet, the study looked at how Canadians are making use of other options to conduct their banking. For example, the usage of automated banking machines is very widespread, with 76 percent of Canadians reporting a transaction in the month prior to the survey, but it has seen only incremental growth over the past few years. Banking by telephone increased over the past year, with 23 percent of Canadians reporting a transaction in the month before the survey, compared to 19 percent in 1999. Debit card payments are also on the rise, with 73 percent of Canadians making at least one debit card payment in the past month, compared to 65 percent in 1999.

The majority of Canadians, however, continue to deal with their financial institution at the branch level. Sixty percent of Canadians have visited a branch in the past month to conduct a transaction in person with a teller or other staff member. This level of branch usage has stabilized after having declined steadily between 1994 and 1999. Still, 40 percent of Canadians say they are visiting branches less often than they did a year ago. The main reason cited is an increased use of alternative channels, such as automated banking machines and Internet banking.

Other findings of the study included:

  • 6 percent of Canadians report that they have an account with a discount brokerage
  • Registration for online trading has doubled over the past year, from 2 percent of Canadians to 4 percent
  • 19 percent of Canadians with Internet access us the Web to manage their investments, for example, by tracking their portfolios or researching products
  • Nearly three in 10 Canadians with access to a computer report using financial software packages to manage their personal or household finances

Canadian Facts interviewed 2,003 Canadians adults by telephone between Oct. 5 and Oct. 19, 2000. The survey is considered accurate within 2.2 percent 19 out of 20 times.

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