A report by technology analyst Datamonitor states that on-line banking in Europe has reached a respectable level of maturity with over 2.6 million regular customers. The report, IT in Banking and Insurance Markets in Europe, 1997-2001 says the market, which many believed would take at least a decade to catch on, will experience a boom over the next four years as more and more banks take on new technology. By 2001, says the report, over 9.5 million retail customers in Europe will be using on-line banking services and that the Internet will become the dominant platform for on-line banking services. In Europe, the UK and Germany were tipped to have the majority of customers with Finland having the highest number of customers among its banking population. Datamonitor believes the Internet's popularity, coupled with its ease of use, will persuade the most ardent technophiles to use it for basic banking functions such as setting up direct debits and paying regular bills. The report goes on to suggest that despite current concern about the safety of using the Internet as a place to spend or manage money, "security issues are being resolved and regulation ... will reassure the public." In asserting that the Internet will become the dominant platform for on-line banking services, Data-monitor points to the inherent advantages the Internet has over traditional banking methods including greater geographic access. This allows customers to access their accounts from anywhere in the world - as long as they have a computer connected to the Internet. The report states that "these advantages, combined with banks' cost savings involved will result in banks switching from proprietary PC banking services to the Internet". For an executive summary of Datamonitor's report call 0171 316 0001. www.datamonitor.com.
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