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Online financial sites benefit from convenience factor

According to new research, the financial services market will see online sales rise sharply in 2005. In particular credit card, insurance and personal loan companies are expected to experience a rise in sales.

Online purchases of financial services are expected to rise by 27% on 2004’s figures, according to research from NOP World Finance and Siansbury’s Bank. This translates to the number of consumers buying online financial products increasing from 3.3m to 4.2m this year.

These findings come on the back of Sainsbury’s Bank itself announcing an increase of more than 200% in online visitors to its financial sites over the past twelve months.

According to the bank, this growth is being fuelled by the convenience of the Internet. said the highest volume of users visiting its site between 1pm and 2pm, the traditional working lunch hour. This suggests that some consumers find it much more convenient to bank online rather than waiting long High-Street queues.

Other users prefer to organise their finances outside normal banking hours, visiting financial sites between 5pm and 9pm, with six per cent logging on between 11pm and 6am. With High-Street hours still rigid and inconvenient for a lot of consumers, it appears that most are utilising the convenience of the Internet for their financial needs.

Derek Bottom, deputy chief executive at Sainsbury’s Bank, says: “ As consumers lead busier lives, we are seeing an increasing number of people turning to the web to purchase financial services products.”

He adds: “ With more than 500,000 visitors each month, our online presence is pivotal to the bank’s strategy to deliver high quality and competitively priced products that customers find convenient to use.”

The bank, which re-launched its web site last year to capitalise on the growth of this market, now sells over 30 per cent of its financial products online. This is an increase on two years ago when only eighteen per cent of its financial products were bought online. Today, loans, credit cards and car insurance are the top purchases on its site.

Currently, the top financial products purchased online are car insurance followed by credit cards. Most of the large insurance, loans, and credit card companies offer discounts of up to 10% when purchasing their products online. Coupled with the convenience factor, it is clear to see why there has been a sharp rise in online shopping for financial products.



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