The proportion of bank customers using the internet (whether through desktop or mobile devices) to facilitate transactions in an average four-week period has increased to 62.2%, according to a study by Roy Morgan Research.

This puts internet banking well ahead of traditional banking, which is only used by 32.3%.

Additionally, many customers appreciate the convenience of banking online, with satisfaction levels for internet banking at 90.2%, compared to branches at 88.4%.

In the past two years, the proportion of customers using bank branches in an average four-week period fell from 35.5% to 32.3%. On the other hand, total internet banking rose from 58.6 to 62.2%.

Internet banking through websites remains the most prevalent channel used among customers, but it declined slightly from 53.1% in 2013 to 52.5% this year. Mobile banking, however, improved from 2013’s 26.2% to the current 33.6%.

Also within the 2013 to 2015 period, phone banking declined from 18.9% to 15% and the use of a personal banker went down from 8.4% to 6.6%.

Online banking’s rapid growth in popularity is closely linked to the high satisfaction levels the channel posts.

Banking using a website has the highest satisfaction level among banking channels with 90.4%, while mobile banking posted 89.9%. Branch banking scored 88.4%, personal advisor/banker banking is at 81.8%, and phone banking was the lowest at 79.9%.

Among different banks, Suncorp had the most satisfying internet banking experience, with a 93.3% satisfaction level. CBA came in second at 92.7%, followed by ING Direct at 92.6%.

“With the rapid growth in internet banking, it will become more important that satisfaction with this channel will need to be monitored against competitors and with other methods for dealing with banks if this lead is to be sustained,” said Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan Research.

Morris offers his take on the study, and analyses the target customers of internet banking.

“A great deal of attention is currently being paid to overall satisfaction and advocacy across the banking industry but this needs to be expanded to looking at satisfaction at the channel level as this is likely to impact overall satisfaction,” he said.

“It is worth noting that clearly the highest users of website internet banking are the high value customer, ie. the top 20% (top quintile) that controls 63% of the total market value of financial services. Nearly three quarters of this high potential group conduct internet banking using the website, making it imperative to understand functionality needs, reliability and satisfaction with this critical segment.”