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Survey Shows Banks Lack Some Online Skills

Want to know what you're doing wrong in the field of online banking? Several research companies are more than glad to provide that information.

For example, one survey says lenders are not doing too hot of a job using the Internet to attract consumers' interest in refinancing their homes.

The research company, Change Sciences Group, Inc., found that half of the sites it reviewed could use some help in smoothing out how a consumer navigates to the mortgage section of the banking site. It also found that 80 percent of those sites could make it easier to learn about types of loan offers. Two-thirds of sites make it difficult to learn about various reasons to refinance, could make it easier to get a rate quote online and could make it easier to apply for those loans, the survey found.

A second survey by Gartner found that online users are growing frustrated with the lack of security provided by financial institutions, as well as online retailers. The survey of 5,000 adult Internet users found they no longer believe passwords are sufficient protection.

At the same time, survey respondents indicated they want the choice of using stronger authentication, but don't want to be forced to use more complicated systems. Respondents gave high ratings to low-tech options such as challenge and response features that ask shoppers to provide responses to tailored questions. Less popular were solutions such as security software downloads or multi factor authentication schemes that use smart cards or universal serial bus tokens.

Meanwhile, research also shows that the ability to bank online is becoming more important to financial institution customers. A study by Keynote Systems found that more than 56 percent of consumers say they want online banking and bill payment services when choosing a bank. That means those two factors are approaching the most popular answers given - the desire for free checking (68 percent) and for reasonable fee and service charges (67 percent). Banking customers are also relying more heavily on the Internet to conduct inquiries and conduct banking transactions. Ninety-two percent of online banking customers said they use the Internet to check transaction histories, and 51 percent use it for printing monthly statements.

Copyright © 2005 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2/05

First published on 02/01/2005

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