Online Banking Grows in Europe

Up to 60 percent of Europeans may bank online by 2020, a level already reached by Sweden and Denmark today, Deutsche Bank said in a report on Tuesday.

The share of online banking customers in the 15 European Union states before enlargement increased from 19 percent in 2003 to 29 percent in 2007, and it can reach 50 to 60 percent in the next 12 years if this growth rate is maintained, the report said.

Northern Europeans are the most enthusiastic online bankers, and adoption rates increase from the south to the north of the continent and from the poor to the rich. More than 70 percent of all Icelanders access banking services online, compared with 2 percent of Bulgarians.

"The profile of the average online banker is still biased towards the characteristics of the early core group of mostly young, male and well-educated individuals," the Deutsche Bank report said.

It said in Iceland, for instance, the adoption rate of online banking services among highly educated people is 90 percent, while that of medium educated people is 76 percent. And of German online bankers, 43 percent have an advanced education, compared with 35 percent in the general public.

But this bias will disappear gradually as online banking spreads across the population, the bank's report said, predicting that in the EU-15, the education gap will start closing in 2010.