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Online Banking Blooming, Finally

Online banking has been so slow in growing that it missed the dot-com boom. But it has reached a third of U.S. consumers.
Almost twice the percentage of U.S. consumers are paying bills and transferring funds online, compared with two years ago, according to a new study. The nonprofit Pew Internet and American Life Project says 32% of consumers--37 million people--are banking online, compared with 17% in March 2000.

Online banking has been so slow in growing that it missed the dot-com boom. Of course, it also missed the bust, too.

Online banking appeals to some because of its convenience and perceived privacy, says Susannah Fox, Pew research director. "Convenience and saving time ranked really high with eight out of 10 E-bankers," Fox says. And four out of 10 say it's very important to them to be able to bank without having to talk to anyone, she says.

Still, the Internet holds no appeal for 40% of consumers, according to Pew research. These people are primarily older Americans who don't use a computer at work. Fox says, "If banks tried to do everything on the Internet, they would hit a wall when they come up against this group."

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