Limeys leave Yanks for dead in online banking

We have the technology...

We have the technology...

UK consumers have become increasingly sophisticated with their use of internet banks, while US surfers are struggling to come to terms with the basics of online saving. A poll by Mori and Egg found that British consumers are becoming more and more confident handling their accounts online and are carrying out increasingly complex financial transactions. However, research by Jupiter MMXI on the online banking habits of US surfers claims that they only use the web for simple activities like checking statements or comparing loan rates. Dr Patricia Lüer, analyst at Jupiter MMXI, said that for more complex tasks, such as committing to a loan or investing in less straightforward financial offers, customers prefer to talk face-to-face in a high-street bank. She added that this preference is supported by the increasing online dominance of high-street banks. Lüer said: "In the last couple of months, high-street banks have been moving online and capturing more of the online accounts. Customers are drawn to multi-channel banking for the trust and convenience." She added that while customers are interested in complex online financial services it didn't necessarily mean they possessed the ability to complete them on the web. Jupiter's research claims that pure-play internet banks have suffered an eight per cent drop in traffic in recent months - a fall Lüer attributes to the lack of human agents. Pure-play online banks are losing their appeal in the US because customers prefer to have the option of talking to an advisor to complement their use of the online services. Lüer warned that this trend will inevitably have an impact on the UK market. However, David Smith, a spokesman for internet bank smile.co.uk, said: "We have no indication of that happening here. If anything, Smile continues to grow. Customers seem to enjoy online banking, although it's not for everyone." Both Mori and Egg declined to comment further on the poll.