Online banking use up by 16%

THE use of online banking has surged 16% with 2.6 million customers now registered in Ireland.

According to the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) 34.5m payments were made online last year which is equal to 95,000 a day.

An IBF/Irish Payment Services Organisation report also found that there was a 17.2% increase to 136 million in the number of times online accounts were accessed last year.

IBF chief executive Pat Farrell said: “We can see from these figures that online banking continues to grow strongly in Ireland with significant growth being recorded between 2008 and 2009.

“This is evident also from some international comparisons. Whereas the number of online payments per capita in 2007 was 5.4 in Ireland compared with 5.5 in the UK, by 2008 this had increased to 7.0 while remaining static in the UK.

“While we are heading in the right direction, the extent to which we lag behind a leading online adopter like Norway is reflected in their 2008 payments per capita figure of 36.1.”

IPSO’s head of card services Una Dillon said online banking is facilitating the migration from cheques and other paper- based payment methods to electronic payments.

“The move to electronic payments is central to ensuring Ireland’s competitiveness and efficiency within the wider European market and is a key objective of the Government’s National Payments Implementation Programme,” she said.

In the last quarter of 2009 there were 1.4 million mobile tops up online, up from 1.2 million in the same period in 2008 and 0.8m in 2007.

Online users have also been warned fraudsters are continuing their switch from traditional card fraud to raiding online bank accounts.

Mel Morris, of the online security software firm Prevx, said online fraud was relatively easy to commit. “It’s possible to buy a kit online for a few thousand pounds and you can be in the business of trying to perpetrate online fraud,” he said.

He said that merchants are trying to tighten up their site controls to stop credit cards being stolen en masse.

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