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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 60, Issue 2, February 2007, Pages 137–145
This paper offers an empirical investigation on the use of the Internet to carry out banking transactions in the European Union. The study focuses on variables such as customers' ownership of diverse financial products and services, as well as their perceptions and attitudes towards financial services and the Internet as a financial distribution channel. The results confirm that ownership of diverse financial products and services, attitude towards finances, and trust in the Internet as a channel for financial operations exert significant influence on Europeans' use of the Internet for banking transactions.
Although nowadays brick-and-mortar branches still remain the main banking distribution channel (Howcroft et al., 2002 and Wang et al., 2003), in recent years, the growth of newer channels has introduced significant changes. The telephone, Internet, new ATMs, and digital television are examples of technologies that enable customers to carry out banking operations on their own, without the need to visit a branch office. The former “one-channel” situation, consisting of a branch network, has shifted to a “multi-channel” configuration, where branches coexist with alternative delivery channels. In developing these new channels, banks seek to lower costs and, at the same time, raise their income by attracting new customers and increasing sales to current customers. On the other hand, financial customers usually look for convenience in these channels (Daniel, 1999, Howcroft et al., 2002, Liao and Cheung, 2002 and Sathye, 1999), that is, the comfort of carrying out banking operations without time or place constraints. Adopters of newer financial distribution channels, such as the Internet, also tend to expect better financial conditions, with lower commissions or better interest rates, as well as higher levels of service, with time savings (e.g., avoiding queues in branches), and more privacy (EFMA, 2004 and Howcroft et al., 2002). The Internet stands out from other new channels because of the high adoption rates among customers and the wide range of operations banks offer through their e-banking services. Internet use to carry out banking operations is approximately 40% and 47% among current European (Telefónica, 2005) and U.S. Internet users (Fox, 2005). These figures do not necessarily mean the decline of branch networks but confirm the definitive success Internet banking will have in the near future. E-banking is a key element of current bank strategies and still has huge development potential. New financial channels provide advantages and opportunities, which banks try to seize by leading their customers to their Internet services. Banks' initiatives to promote Internet banking may be beneficial to both parties since customers are also likely to obtain significant benefits. However, activities to promote direct channels should take into account that most customers do not rely on a single channel and, therefore, they will tend to regularly use several financial distribution channels. Consequently, banks should not impose compulsory changes. Customers should have the freedom to decide how to contact their financial providers. To ensure the success of these initiatives, banks must gain a customer-based understanding of the changes currently taking place in the delivery of financial products. “Among other things, banks must understand who specifically is adopting and using this new commercial technology and why” (Lassar et al., 2005). Banks should be able to predict which customers will be the earliest users of this channel. First, they should know the main characteristics of these early adopters. Next, banks should understand how these characteristics interact with new e-banking processes and procedures. Research dealing with these issues strives to empirically validate models that can help financial providers understand which customers are most likely to adopt new channels. Based mainly on Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations Model (Rogers, 2003), authors increasingly apply adoption research to the e-banking field. These studies analyze several customer traits (e.g., demographics, behavior, and attitude towards new technologies and banks) in order to characterize typical adopters of new distribution channels. On the basis of the identified customer profiles, such papers provide financial entities with recommendations on how to define their strategies and Internet services. Most research has concentrated on customers' demographic characteristics, not analyzing other variables such as attitudes and behaviors. The main purpose of this paper is to establish the key characteristics (other than sociodemographics) significantly related to a customer's propensity to adopt a new banking distribution channel. The analyses focus on customers' ownership of diverse financial products and services, as well as their perceptions and attitudes towards financial services and the Internet as a financial distribution channel. This paper begins with the review of previous work analyzing the influence of diverse indicators on the adoption of Internet banking. The next section describes the methodology and results of the empirical analyses, which apply the latent class regression methodology to the survey data included in the dataset Eurobarometer 60.2 “Public opinion in Europe: Financial services”. Finally, the authors offer implications and recommendations for banks derived from the results of the study.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Both financial entities and customers of financial products and services are benefiting from the spread of online banking services. The importance of this phenomenon has led to the appearance of several studies seeking to clarify the sociodemographic characteristics of the banking customers most willing to adopt the online financial distribution channel. Nevertheless, very little research focuses on other types of factors, such as customers' perceptions and attitudes towards their financial entities and the ownership of financial products and services. In order to offer deeper knowledge in this field of research, this paper has analyzed the adoption of online banking by focusing on customers' ownership of diverse financial products and services, as well as their perceptions and attitudes towards financial services and the Internet as a financial distribution channel. By understanding the influence of these factors, financial entities may be able to more successfully identify customers more likely to adopt the Internet as a channel for bank transactions. This paper has confirmed that customers with more contracted financial products and services are more prone to adopting online banking services. The results also show that customers who are more interested in financial products and services will adopt with higher probability the Internet as a financial distribution channel. Trust in the Internet channel is fundamental for customers to make online banking transactions. Conversely, trust in financial entities does not seem to increase customers' probability to adopt online banking. These results are consistent with other findings of this study, which suggest that “self-sufficient” financial customers, preferring to make their financial decisions on their own, without need of advice from their financial entities, are more likely to use the Internet for banking transactions. Finally, the authors provide recommendations for financial organizations seeking to foster their online banking services: – Promotion activities of online banking services should focus on customers with stronger bonds with the bank. The results have shown that these customers will respond better, which will increase the effectiveness of such promotion strategies. – Banks should develop Internet banking systems offering total security and privacy to financial customers. In addition, customers must know and understand such security measures. To accept Internet banking, current financial customers must perceive such online services as secure. – Design of information campaigns, emphasizing the security of the Internet channel, which increase customers' knowledge of this matter and, as a consequence, increase trust in this new financial distribution channel. Higher customer trust in the Internet will increase the probability that they start to use this channel for more “risky” activities, such as carrying out banking transactions. These information campaigns should provide customers with recommendations related to all security issues. If financial customers know how to protect themselves on the Internet, they will more likely perform financial transactions online. – Integrate informative and advice-related financial tools into Internet banking systems, in order to provide support for customers who wish to make financial decisions on their own. – Develop diffusion activities in comprehensible language, related to the operation and characteristics of financial products and services, in order to foster a financial culture among customers. Such strategies will arouse and increase customers' interest in the management of their finances and, as a consequence, in online banking. These activities should clarify for customers the advantages and ease of using the Internet banking services their financial entities currently offer.