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For the first time, more US bank customers express a preference for managing their finances online compared to any other method, according to a survey from the American Bankers Association.

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The survey of 1000 people, conducted for the ABA by Ipsos-Reid, shows online banking is preferred by one-in-four of the sample. It is the most popular method among all customer age groups under the age of 55 although older people still prefer visiting branches.

The survey also shows mobile banking is yet to make the predicted breakthrough, cited as the preferred method by only one per cent, with most of these being 18 to 24 year olds.

Branch banking is the second most popular method, cited by 21%, with 17% preferring to use ATMs and four per cent the telephone.

Nessa Feddis, senior counsel and retail banking expert, ABA, says: "This marks a watershed change. It tells us that for the first time, more consumers prefer the speed and convenience of conducting their banking transactions on the Internet than visiting their local branch. It also tells us that consumers now have confidence in the accuracy and security of online banking."

A recent poll sponsored by vendor Fiserv found that more than two million US households have adopted online banking and bill payment during the last year, meaning the services are now used in over three quarters of homes with Internet access.

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