SCMP Friday, February 9, 2001
Demand rises for Internet banking
Internet banking is booming with almost one in 10 adults in Hong Kong registered to handle their finances online, a survey revealed yesterday.
About 370,000 people - or nine per cent of the adult population - had access to Internet banking services by October, compared to 1.2 per cent in January last year, the survey by ACNielsen.online reported.
Five per cent of adults - 205,000 people - had used the service, an eight-fold increase from 0.6 per cent in January last year, said ACNielsen.online director Johnny Tsin Fung.
The trend, which is in contrast to the reluctance of Internet users in the SAR to shop online over security concerns, should mean shorter queues at banks. Some 57 per cent of Internet banking customers said they would visit their local branch less often.
Mr Tsin predicted half the adult population would have access to e-banking in three years as confidence with new technology grows.
But he said Hong Kong might be slightly trailing some Asian countries, including Singapore and South Korea.
A spokeswoman for HSBC said more than 156,000 customers had access to its online banking system, launched in August. Most people used the service to check their account balance, transfer money and for other transactions.
A survey by HSBC in mid-December found share trading through bank counters had dropped from 24 per cent to seven per cent since the e-banking system was launched.
An estimated 100,000 Hang Seng Bank customers have also acquired access to e-banking since August.