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More Consumers Using Internet to Carry Out Financial Transactions

October 7, 2003

More consumers are going online to conduct personal banking transactions and carry out a variety of other financial transactions, according to The Consumer Internet Barometer, a quarterly measure of who's doing what on the Internet, as well as the level of trust and satisfaction that consumers have with their online experience.

Internet usage for financial transaction has surged during the past two years. Today, nearly half of Internet users conduct financial transactions online, versus 39 percent in the fourth quarter 2001. The proportion of consumers logging on primarily to conduct financial transactions has also grown from 3 percent to 5 percent. Frequent online activity is quite prevalent among these Internet users - more than two-thirds log on daily to conduct financial transactions.

"Increasing trust combined with the benefits to everyday life have been major factors in prompting more consumers to conduct financial transactions online," says Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board's Consumer Research Center. "And, these factors have also been key in making this one of the fastest growing ways that consumers are using the Internet."

Confidence in the Internet is important to those going online primarily to conduct financial transactions, and their overall level of trust has been increasing since the fourth quarter 2001. In addition, more than a quarter claim that the ability to manage their finances online has significantly improved the quality of their life.

Fewer than a third of American consumers have yet to go online compared with nearly 35 percent in the last quarter of 2001. This trend has been accompanied by an increase in the number of heavy Internet users. Over the past two years, the percentage of daily users has risen five percentage points to 39 percent.

But while a greater number of consumers are using the Internet more often, their overall levels of satisfaction and trust have tended to waver. The percentage of consumers expressing satisfaction with their online experience has held steady at around 40 pecent for the past two years, while their overall level of trust has hovered around 26 percent.

About The Consumer Internet Barometer

The Consumer Internet Barometer is produced by NFO WorldGroup, Forrester Research and The Conference Board.

The Consumer Internet Barometer is based on a quarterly survey of 10,000 households. A unique sample is surveyed each quarter. Return rates average 70 percent, which ensures highly representative data, according to the Consumer Internet Barometer.

Data is weighted as well to reflect the latest U.S. household demographic information. The latest survey was conducted during the third quarter of 2003.

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