More consumers prefer to bank online, says American Bankers Assn.

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For the first time, more bank customers prefer banking online to any other method, according to a new survey from the American Bankers Assn.

Calling the findings a “watershed change,” the group reported that 25% of all bank customers under age 55 now prefer the speed and convenience of Internet banking to phone and mail options. For customers ages 18 to 34, a whopping 38% preferred banking online. Among older customers, 26% still prefer visiting their local branch. But just 21% of the overall group would rather bank at physical locations, and only 17% prefer ATMs. Just 1%, mostly 18- to 34-year-olds, are most likely to enjoy mobile banking on cellphones or personal digital assistants.

The survey of 1,000 consumers was conducted by market research firm Ipsos-Reid over three days in August.

Banking preferences are also available by age: 18 to 34, 35 to 54 and 55 and older.


-- Tiffany Hsu