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Ten million online bankers by next year

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Up to 10 million people in the UK could be banking over the Internet by next year - a figure far higher than any previous predictions. In an NOP survey of 1,000 adults, a surprising 41 per cent said they would use Internet banking within the next year, with 56 per cent saying they would in the next five years. A second survey found that fewer people were visiting bank branches, opting to use cash machines instead - pointing to a cultural change in the way in which we interact with our money and its keepers. Although both surveys have been highlighted by Barclays - which is shifting its business into online products - there is little doubt that the advance of technology has altered the way Joe Bloggs does his banking. Although many remain wary of purely Web-based banks with unfamiliar names, Internet banking appears to make perfect sense. We've all become used to money being represented as digital figures rather than wads of cash and the Internet simply extends the principle but with the added bonus of being able to do it in the comfort of your own home. Banks like the idea too. The Internet has the capacity to slash overheads and plans to reduce the number of branches throughout the UK are already in the offing. And with the online world likely to increase competition and so get the customer a better deal, it won't take the man in the street long to decide which option he'd rather go for. ®

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