Online Banking Off to the Races 

Estimates show that online banking will increase by more than 9.5% this year with nearly 80 million Americans conducting some sort of financial services transaction online.  As these numbers grow, so too do the online marketing budgets of most financial services companies.  However, online growth rates are actually slowing dramatically compared to previous years and, as this new eMarketer study points out, many consumers still prefer banking offline. 

One of the main concerns with online banking remains the fear of security issues, with more than 50% of online applicants abandoning their transactions halfway through a form.  While these fears are not necessarily unfounded, online banks are making improvements in the area of security. A survey released by comScore earlier in the year found that 58 percent of online banking customers believe the Internet is more secure than one year ago, 68 percent believe online banking is more secure than one year ago.

The problem, as some have pointed out in the past, is not so much actual security, but the perception of security.  Clearly, the numbers are improving and customers are slowly becoming more accustomed to banking online.  However, as concerns about phishing and fraud continue to be publicized, financial services companies must provide constant assurance to those consumers that are still wary of online banking.

The reality is that customers that use multiple channels tend to be the most valuable, so providing customers with the same sense of security and service across online and offline channels is paramount to growing their business.  As competition increases for online financial services products, those companies that differentiate themselves by guiding customers through every step of the way and easing any potential worries, are the ones that will finish ahead of the pack.