Adoption of Internet banking
among sophisticated consumer
segments in an advanced
Serkan Akinci, S ¸afak Aksoy and Eda Atilgan
Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Economics and
Administrative Sciences, Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey
Keywords Banking, Consumers, Distribution channels, Markets
Abstract This descriptive study was conducted to develop an understanding of consumers’
attitudes and adoption of Internet banking among sophisticated consumers. Based on a random
sample of academicians, demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral characteristics of Internet
banking (IB) users and non-users were examined. The analyses revealed significant differences
between the demographic profiles and attitudes of users and non-users. IB users were further
investigated, and three sub-segments were defined according to a set of bank selection criteria.
Finally, based on the similarities between various Web-based bank services, four homogeneous
categories of services were defined.
Industrial and service sectors have witnessed a rapid shift particularly in the last
decade under the pressure of some forces affecting the marketing environment. One of
the major forces behind these developments is technology, which is breaching
geographical, industrial, and regulatory barriers, creating new products, services,
market opportunities, and developing more information and systems-oriented business
and management processes (Liao and Cheung, 2002). In the world of banking, the
developments in information technology have had an enormous effect in development
of more flexible payment methods and more user-friendly banking services. Online
banking and other electronic payment systems are new, and the development and
diffusion of these technologies by financial institutions is expected to result in a more
efficient banking system. This technology offers institutions alternative or
non-traditional delivery channels through which banking products and services can
be delivered to consumers more conveniently and economically without diminishing
the existing service levels. Internet banking (IB) is such a delivery channel that
deserves special attention from financial institutions, policy-makers, researchers, and
academicians owing to its enormous potential from the viewpoint of banks, businesses,
and retail consumers.
This research has therefore constructed on the Internet banking phenomenon with
particular reference to the highly educated consumer segment. The paper first makes a
detailed review of the IB phenomenon in the present banking literature and then
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The authors acknowledge the support of Akdeniz University Scientific Projects Unit for this
Received July 2003
Revised December 2003
Accepted January 2004
The International Journal of Bank
Vol. 22 No. 3, 2004
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
concentrates on bank consumers’ demographic profiles, attitudes, and behaviours in
terms of their IB usage situation based on empirical evidence collected from an
academic institution in Turkey.
Internet banking in the literature
The last decade has witnessed a rapid accumulation of studies on electronic banking,
technology-oriented bank services, and distribution channels. As the new technology
spreads across various sectors, businesses as well as academicians are tempted to assess
the opportunities created by the new technology in a comparative manner with the
existing operations. The vast opportunities brought by the Internet to the banking
industry have therefore attracted much attention from researchers whose efforts
apparently group on certain areas of interest. Reviewing the recent literature on IB, four
inter-related areas can be identified: retail banking services, distribution channels for
these services, consumers’ attitudes towards and adoption of IB, and banks’ and bank
managers’ perception of and approach to IB (Figure 1).
Retail banking services
There is a multitude of retail banking service available for consumers but their
et al. (2002) have classified the financial services into the following four groups:
(1) Current account.
(4) Investment-based services.
categorization of the
issues related to Internet
In relation to online banking, Chou and Chou (2000) have listed some five basic services:
(1) Viewing account balances and transaction histories.
(2) Paying bills.
(3) Transferring funds between accounts.
(4) Requesting credit card advances.
(5) Ordering cheques.
A more specific listing of services is given in Figure 2.
It is foreseen by many that competition will get tougher in the financial industry owing
to the rapid technological change and globalization of financial markets. As increasing
competition between the financial institutions has forced many of the players to offer
similar prices on deposits and loans, the efforts for gaining competitive advantage
were shifted towards non-price factors. In this context, new forms of distribution
channels are invaluable outlets for financial institutions since they provide the
opportunity for cutting costs without diminishing the existing service levels (Figure 2).
As time passes, financial institutions world-wide become more interested in
diversifying their traditional service delivery channels, basically the branch
network, which is known to be associated with high staff and overhead costs.
The advent of new channels has contributed not only to the adoption of multi-channel
strategies by the existing institutions but also the emergence of new forms of financial
studies have comparatively investigated the current usage levels and advantages of
financial distribution channels. Based on a survey among UK consumers for example,
Howcroft et al. (2002) have found that consumers had a preference for a mix of delivery
study in the UK, Black et al. (2002) argued that consumers’ channel choice in financial
services was determined by consumer, product, channel, and organizational characteristics
importance. Thornton and White (2001) have compared seven distribution channels (ATM,
EFTPOS, credit card, cheque, human teller, telephone, and Internet) with a view to a set of
variables affecting their usage. They concluded that customer orientations such as
convenience, service, technology, change, knowledge, computer, and Internet affected the
usage of different channels. The usage of ATM, EFTPOS, and telephone increased as
customers were more oriented towards change, knowledge, computer, and confidence.
Quoting from DiDio(1998), Nath etal. (2001) underlined that the averagetransactioncost of
$1.07atafull-servicebankwasreducedto$0.27at anATM,andfell toaboutapennyif the
transaction was made on the Web. They also added that cost savings, access to additional
reached by Ahmad and Buttle (2002) for telephone banking which provided convenience
and control to consumers and lower costs to banks.
Different factors affecting the channel mix and the distribution strategy have also
received attention from authors. Using a competitive market model for retail banking
services, Byers and Lederer (2001) have concluded that it was changing consumer
behaviour and attitudes rather than banks’ cost structure that determined the changes
Retail banking services
and distribution channels
in distribution strategy. They predicted that if the electronic distribution preferring
segment grows at the expense of branch-preferring segment, branch banks will have to
exit the market in favour of virtual banks. They added, however, that virtual banks
will be profitable only when the electronic-preferring segment is approximately twice
the size of the branch preferring segment. Parallel to this, Mols et al. (1999) stressed
that consumer acceptance would be the key factor in the development of distribution
channel structure in the future.
The rapid diversification in the distribution channels was highlighted in the
Romanian contextbyGurau(2002)whoclaimedthat thetraditionalchannels’ share of85
per cent in 1998 would drop to a mere 15 per cent by 2005. A similar point was raised in
the UK by Howcroft et al. (2002) that the branch network’s future dominance would be
less obvious as consumers placed proportionately greater emphasis on telephone and, to
some extent, IB. The advantages of electronic channels and especially the Internet over
traditional branchbanking were alsounderlined.Molsetal.(1999)drew attentiontotheir
spatial convenience and less waiting time for consumers. Jayawardhena and Foley
(2000), on the other hand, listed the advantages for banks: cost savings, increased
customer base, mass customization, marketing and communication, innovation, and
development of non-core business. Maude et al. (2000) looked at other means such as
mobile data communication and interactive TV sets and argued that they would greatly
expand the market for the electronic delivery of personal financial services. The authors
drewattention tothe growing potential ofmobile-bankingservices deliveredthrough the
wireless application protocol (WAP), the short message service (SMS), and interactive
TVs which, to some, may even catch up with the PC for accessing the Web.
Consumers’ attitudes and adoption
Attitudes and motives are among the fundamental factors influencing consumers’
buying behaviour and have, therefore, attracted considerable attention from researchers
probing the behaviour of bank customers and their relationship with these institutions.
In the context of technologically based distribution channels, attitudes and motives have
generally been used as segmentation variables to define distinct customer groups whose
concerning technology and information, Machauer and Morgner (2001) defined four
clusters of German bank consumers. These were “transaction oriented”, “generally
interested”, “service oriented”, and “technology opposed” groups. In the USA, Barczak
et al. (1997) studied the consumer motives for use of technologically based banking
services and distribution channels and found that customers could be clustered on their
money management philosophies. Their results describing four motivational clusters
including “security conscious”, “maximizers”, “instant gratification”, and “hassle
avoiders” indicated that the four motivational segments had different attitudes and
behaviours towards different banking technologies. In Finland, Karjaluoto et al. (2002)
found that attitude towards online banking and actual behaviour were both influenced
The adoption of IB by consumers is also extensively investigated by severalauthors.
Gerrard and Cunningham (2003) used 41 statements to measure the characteristics
relating to the adoption of IB and innovations by Singapore consumers. Their factor
analysis extracted “social desirability”, “compatibility”, “convenience”, “complexity”,
“confidentiality”, “accessibility”, “economic benefits”, and “PC proficiency” as the eight
influential factors of adoption. In another study in Singapore, Liao and Cheung (2002)
found that individual expectations regarding accuracy, security, transaction speed,
user-friendliness, user involvement, and convenience were the most important quality
attributes in the perceived usefulness of Internet-based e-retail banking. Among these,
the first five determined the willingness to use by consumers. Parallel findings came
from Moutinho and Smith (2000) who studied the behaviour of established bank
customers in the UK and concluded that ease of banking and convenience were the two
important expectations. Mattila et al. (2003) added that household income and education
had a significant effect on the adoption of IB among mature consumers in Finland,
whereas perceived difficulty in using computers combined with the lack of personal
service in e-banking were the main barriers. For corporate customers, however, the
main barrier was seen as security concerns (Rotchanakitumnuai and Speece, 2003).
Sathye (1999) investigated the adoption of IB by Australian consumers and identified
security concernsandlack ofawarenessaboutIBasthemain obstaclestonon-adoption.
Healsopointedout that theyoung, educated,andwealthy groups ofcustomers werethe
most relevant customer segments for the rapid development of IB market.
In Turkey, Polatoglu and Ekin (2001) listed nine factors that, according to the
authors, influenced the diffusion of IB. These were: “relative advantage”,
observability”, “trialability”, “complexity”, “perceived risk”, “type of group”, “type of
decision”, and “marketing effort”. The authors concluded that those customers, who
use IB for the longest time or who use more of its services, find IB to be very reliable.
An alternative research approach was utilised in Hong Kong by Liao et al. (1999) who
investigated the adoption of virtual banking within the framework of the theory of
planned behaviour, which assumes that behaviour is determined by intention to
perform the behaviour. The theory was found to be partially applicable to the context
since the authors’ empirical research provided limited and weak support to the
constructs of the theory. The applicability of an extended version of the technology
acceptance model (TAM) to IB was tested by Wang et al. (2003) in Taiwan. Probing
those factors that lead to behavioural intention, the authors found evidence that
perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, and perceived credibility all had a
significant positive effect on people’s intention to adopt IB.
Lockett and Litter (1997) presented a study of the adoption of direct banking
services in the UK using a model of the perceived innovation attributes and the
personal characteristics of adopters and non-adopters. Their results indicated that the
most important perceived positive attribute of direct banking was its 24-hour-a-day
availability, whereas complexity and risk of service were the two negative attributes.
Black et al. (2001) reinforced the importance of the perceived innovation attributes in
the adoption process but also drew attention to additional dimensions such as “societal
issues” and “the sense of fatalism” which required further research. Mukherjee and
Nath (2003) concentrated on the concept of trust in online relationship marketing in
India and tested a model of trust in which “shared value”, “communication”, and
“opportunistic behaviour” were taken as antecedents of trust. They concluded that
both shared value and communication played a significant positive role on trust and
that trust had a significant positive influence on commitment.
Research into the consumer aspects of IB has also focused on satisfaction and its
determinants. Based on empirical evidence in The Netherlands, Bloemer et al. (1998)
put forward that quality in bank services would have an indirect effect on loyalty via
satisfaction and that satisfaction would have a direct positive effect on loyalty.
Satisfaction with bank services is influenced by several factors such as the consumer
typology and type of the delivery channel. For example, Polatoglu and Ekin (2001)
inferred that early adopters and heavy users of IB services were more satisfied with the
services compared to the other customer groups. With reference to the type of the
channel, Joseph and Stone (2003) argued that the ability to deliver services via
technology appears to be correlated with high satisfaction with services deemed most
important to customers. In line with this, Moutinho and Smith (2000) emphasised that
human and technology based delivery channels were greatly linked with the
customers’ perceptions of how these bank services were delivered to them and pointed
out that theseperceptual outcomes would affect the level of bank customersatisfaction,
retention, and switching. Lastly, Patricio et al. (2003) underlined the critical importance
of understanding and improving the contribution of each channel within the overall
service offering rather than concentrating efforts on improvements to each service
delivery channel in isolation.
Banks’ and bank managers’ attitudes and approach
Several studies on bank managers’ view of technology-oriented distribution channels
exist in the related literature. In the US, Nath et al. (2001) pointed out that IB was in its
nascent stage and its full benefits were still to be realised by many banks. In this, bank
managers’ attitudes towards and perceptions of electronic channels were of critical
importance. In the Danish experience, for example, Mols (2001) asserted that
management support and future orientation were the two most important factors
driving the introduction and exploitation of the new channels. In another study, Mols
et al. (1999) stressed that most retail banks attached decisive importance to electronic
channels and there was a negative correlation between branch banking and home
banking (telephone, PC, and Internet). They further emphasised that three strategic
clusters could be defined with respect to the similarities between the bank managers in
terms of expectations and perceptions; these were branch, home banking, and dual
strategy clusters. In another study, Mols (2000) grouped the Danish bank managers
according to their attitudes towards IB: the “nervous”, “positive”, “sceptics”, and
“reluctant” groups. Using the Scottish case, Moutinho and Phillips (2002) emphasised
that Scottish bank managers considered efficiency and enhancement of customer
service as the two perceived advantages of IB. Similarly, faster, easier, and more
reliable service to customers, and improvement of the competitive position were
highlighted to be the most important drivers of online banking among the bank and IT
managers in Kuwait (Aladwani, 2001). Daniel (1999), in the context of UK and Ireland,
added that there were three important factors considered by bank managers in
determining provision of electronic banking services; these were vision of the future,
prediction of customer acceptance, and organisational culture of innovation.
Strategic options for banks generated by the development of new distribution
channels were another area of interest by researchers. Yavas and Shemwell (1996)
considered these channels as strategic tools for banks to separate themselves from
competitors by, for example, being first in introducing new channels such as telephone
banking. Mols (1999) described five different channel strategies with respect to two
dimensions: Internet vs. branch banking and local/national vs. international coverage.
In the Swedish case, Yakhlef (2001) pointed out that banks were responding to the
Internet differently and those which see the Internet as a complement and substitute to
traditional channels, achieved better communication and interactivity with customers.
Based on the UK evidence, Li (2001) claimed that the integrated banking model, around
which traditional banks have built their strategies in the past, were showing signs of
fragmentation. Thus, he described four emerging IB models in the UK. The first model
was based on accepting the Internet as a “new distribution channel” which was added
onto the existing model. The second model, also called “e-banking”, was based on
multi-channel banking in which the Internet was the integrative component. The third
model consisted of creating “baby e-banks” with their own e-brand name and product
range.Thefourthmodel wasentirelyanewbusinessmodel withouta physicalnetwork.
One last point to be addressed as an important area in the literature was the
obstacles and the challenges to be faced by the Internet banking institutions. Aladwani
(2001) highlighted security, regulations, consumer privacy, and bank’s reputation as
the main future challenges in the adoption of IB by Kuwaiti banks. Daniel (1999) added
the following to these: integration with existing channels, pricing of electronic services,
and competition. Lastly, Jayawardhena and Foley (2000) pointed out satisfying the
consumer needs, increasing competition, the demands placed upon on the supply chain,
and invention of new products and services.
The studies reviewed so far are summarized in a comparative manner in Table I.
Internet banking in Turkey
The availability and use of information and communication technology has strongly
increased in Europe in the last decade. This is also true for Turkey and other candidate
countries (CC), although they are still lagging behind if compared to the EU average.
Sales of personal computers are rapidly growing in Turkey, but the overall number
remains relatively low. A total of 867,000 units were sold in 2000, representing an
increase of 65 per cent from the previous year. It is estimated that there were 3 million
computers in use, 1.8 million Internet accounts, and over 2 million Internet users in
Turkey in 2000 (Table II). Turkey also spent over 3 billion Euros for IT in the same
year, with the highest growth rate of 23.4 per cent among the CC.
Although most medium-sized and large companies had established Web sites, they
were mainly used for promotional purposes rather than commercial transactions. The
only exception is banking, where the main incentive was lower costs rather than
increased sales. It is estimated that an Internet transaction costs a Turkish bank
around 5 per cent of the cost of the same transaction in a traditional bank branch
(Yahoo Finance, 2001). Despite the low penetration of PC and Internet among
businesses and consumers, IB is a very fast growing sector. The rate of IB users among
the Internet users was 20 per cent in Turkey in 2002, while this was 22 per cent in
France and Greece (NTVMSNBC, 2002). Analysts believe that any increase in the PC
and Internet penetration will further fuel IB usage.
For some managers in foreign IT firms operating in Turkey, the technology usage
level of Turkish banks is comparable with their counterparts in Europe (Bthaber,
2000). According to a recent market research, the IT sector in Turkey obtains 40-45 per
cent of its total returns from banks, insurance companies, and other financial
institutions (Bthaber, 2000). NCR is a good example since 60 per cent of its returns in
Turkey come from banking institutions. The orientation of banks towards IT was also
evident in the composition of heavy investments in 2000 which involved such IT
Chou and Chou (2000)
Howcroft et al. (2002)
Mols et al. (1999)
Maude et al. (2000)
Banks’ Web sites
Nath et al. (2001)
Byers and Lederer (2001)
Thornton, and White
Ahmad and Buttle (2002) Case study
Black et al. (2002)
Multiple focus groups
A summary of recent
studies related to Internet
Lockett and Litter (1997)
Barczak et al. (1997)
Bloemer et al. (1998)
Liao et al. (1999)
Highly educated consumers
General public members
Moutinho and Smith
Polatoglu and Ekin (2001) Empirical
Machauer and Morgner
Black et al. (2001)
Multiple focus groups
Liao and Cheung (2002)
Karjaluoto et al. (2002)
Mattila et al. (2003)
Wang et al. (2003)
General public members
Joseph and Stone (2003)
Focus group and
Mukherjee and Nath
Patricio et al. (2003)
Focus groups and
Gerrard and Cunningham
General public members
applications as call centres, CRM practices, ATM, POS, smart card, data mining, IB,
and Internet banks. Despite these investments, however, a recent report by McKinsey
Global Institute highlighted that there is still a productivity gap in the retail banking
sector (MGI, 2003). The total labour productivity in Turkish private banks was
calculated to be only 55 per cent of average US levels in large private banks. It was
linked, by the Institute, to “weak organization of core functions and tasks in all key
output areas”: payment mix, payment transaction workflows, management of ATM
and POS networks, product bundling, and loan processing.
The current usage trend of non-traditional distribution channels suggests that there
is a strong motive to close the existing productivity gap by Turkish banks. This is best
demonstrated by the fact that nearly 50 per cent of all transactions in the banking
sector is made outside the branch (Vatan, 2003). Furthermore, there was an upward
trend in the regular usage of technology-based channels between 2000 and 2002,
reflecting a clear shift from branch banking (Taylor Nelson Sofres Piar, 2002).
IB was first introduced as a new distribution channel in Turkey by Isbank in 1997.
The total number of Isbank IB users reached 712,401 in 2000, showing a remarkable
made through the Internet was also increased by 50 per cent in 2001 (Isbank, 2001). In all
transactions, the Internet channel ranked third with 6.0 per cent after the branch (47.4 per
cent) and ATMs (25.3 per cent). In 1997, Garanti Bank also joined the competition on the
Web. Today, serving around one million customers with non-traditional channels,
Garanti makes a turnover of US$3 billion per month through these channels. The number
of IB customers of Garanti Bank went up to 375,000 in October 2001, from 38,000 in 1998
(Garanti Bank, 2001). The share of IB in all transactions except money withdrawal is 42
per cent which is well beyond those of ATMs (35 per cent) and telephone banking (5 per
transactions in Turkey. Another strong competitor, Akbank, introduced its first IB
branch for retail customers in 1999, allowing them to access accounts, buy/sell foreign
exchange, transfer money, perform securities, and trade on the Istanbul stock exchange
(Akbank, 2000). By the end of 2000, the number of retail customers utilizing the facilities
at the Internet branch totaled 106,000, accounting for 7 per cent of Akbank’s active
customers. Akbank also had 43,000 corporate IB clients accounting for an annual
turnover of US$13 billion in 2002 (Akbank, 2002).
Number of PCs (December 2000)
– per 100 inhabitants
Internet hosts (July 2001)
– per 100 inhabitants
Internet users (December 2000)
– per 100 inhabitants
Mobile phone subscriptions (December 2000)
– per 100 inhabitants
Note: *CC: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland,
Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Turkey
Source: Eurostat (2001)
Some indicators related to
the PC, Internet, and
mobile phone usage (in
Depending on the rapid increase in the Internet access and growing popularity of
virtual banking among consumers, other banks have gradually followed the first
movers. Today, Isbank, Garanti Bank, Akbank, Pamukbank, Citibank, HSBC, and
several others provide a rich spectrum of IB services in Turkish financial markets.
According to a market research conducted among 36 banks by Interpro Marketing
Research Services Co., 46.6 per cent of the banks were running IB operations, whereas
26.7 percentwereatthedevelopmentstage(Bthaber,2000).Theinitial reasonforseveral
was to reduce the heavy workload of the branches. Thus, in order to canalize bank
customers from traditional “bricks-and-mortar” branches to the virtual world, banks
applied “no cost” strategy for their clients who made their transactions over the Internet.
While some of these banks offered limited services on the Web, some others expanded
their services ranging from EFT, money transfers, repo, stock, and mutual fund
transactions to all non-cash banking services. By the year of2003, itis estimated thatthe
number of consumers using online financial services in Turkey will exceed two million.
As the literature review has clearly indicated that consumer behaviour, attitudes, and
acceptance were the key factors in the development of distribution channel structure for
bank services (Mols et al., 1999; Byers and Lederer, 2001), the research objectives were
primarily directed at consumer characteristics, behaviour, and attitudes. Furthermore,
the statistical data suggests that PC literacy and Internet usage are among the main
prerequisites of IB development in a society. Therefore, it is expected that highly
educated people will probably be a major customer segment for banking institutions.
Based on these two points, the research objectives in this study were set as follows:
. to understand the demographic characteristics of the users and non-users of IB
services in the highly educated market segment;
. to describe the preferences for various delivery channels by IB users and
. to compare the attitudes of users and non-users towards IB with respect to a
number of factors such as technology, security, convenience, and costs;
. to identify the major sub-segments among highly educated IB consumers; and
. to search the similarities between various IB transactions and group these
services in homogenous categories.
Data collection and sample description
Having considered the fact that the likelihood of IB usage was strongly linked to
PC-literacy and Internet usage, the target population of interest was defined as the
academic staff of a higher education institution, Akdeniz University, in Antalya, Turkey.
Thus, a survey questionnaire was developed to collect the primary data from the
respondents. To form a sampling frame, a list of 1228 e-mail addresses belonging to
the academicians was obtained from the university’s IT department. Since all of the
respondentshadpermanentInternet accessintheiroffices,themajority ofthesurveywas
conducted on-line; for this purpose, an e-mail message explaining the objectives of the
research and containing a link to the virtual questionnaire page was delivered to the
the campus in April 2002. At the end of the data collection period, a total of 140 useable
questionnaires were obtained, producing a response rate of 11.04 per cent. This low
response rate was accepted since Internet surveys have the poorest response rates among
e-mail, mall-intercept, and mail surveys (Malhotra, 1999). The distributions of the target
population and the sample by academic titles were shown in Table III, indicating an
approximately similar pattern. To test this similarity, t-tests were carried out between the
population and sample proportions but no significant difference was detected. Based on
this evidence and also that all respondents had Internet access as well as personal e-mail
addresses, we concluded that the likelihood of non-response bias was minimal.
The majority of the respondents were male (62.9 per cent), aged between 20-30 (37.9 per
cent), and research assistants (41.4 per cent). More than half of the respondents (56.4 per
cent) indicated themselves as IB users, which was very high as compared to the average
proportions of IB using customers of the Turkish banks. The results revealed that the
majority of IB users were male (76.9 per cent), whereas the opposite was true in the
non-users category (Table IV). With respect to age, the largest user group (46.8 per cent)
was the 31-40 category, whereas half of the non-users were in the 20-30 category. This
pattern showed that the mid-age consumers (aged 31-50) constituted the major IB using
segment. It was also noteworthy that the likelihood of using IB over 50 years of age is
considerably small. This was evident in the figures that the proportion of IB users
above 50 years of age was only 3.9 per cent, compared to 6.6 per cent of non-users. In
terms of academic titles, associate professors and lecturers were remarkably higher in
the user group, while it was opposite for professors, research assistants, and specialists.
Consumers’ preferences for different delivery channels
For IB users, IB was the most preferred delivery channel while ATM was the second
preference. This finding shows us that IB users had a clear preference for convenient
and technology-based channels. Non-users of IB, on the other hand, mostly preferred
ATMs and then branches, were reflecting a more traditional (rather than technological)
orientation. Telephone banking seemed to be the least preferred channel alternative,
particularly by IB non-users (Table V).
%Significance of the difference
Note: *The normal approximation may be inaccurate for small samples
Population and sample
Attitudes towards Internet banking
To compare the differences between the attitudes of IB users and non-users, 19
different statements covering such aspects as technology, security, convenience, and
costs were measured on a five-point Likert scale (1 ¼ strongly disagree, 5 ¼ strongly
agree). Conducting t-tests on the responses from the users and non-users, significant
attitudinal differences were detected for most of the statements (Table VI). One of the
most striking differences between the two groups was that non-users preferred going
to bank branches despite their permanent Internet access. They did not believe that
they could get adequate help for any problem faced during their IB transactions.
Non-users also held the opinion that they were likely to face fewer problems in
transactions at bank branches. In this regard, they did not feel confident in using
electronic banking methods for accessing their accounts. Furthermore, non-users were
not aware of all the benefits of IB and believed that several transactions could not be
done over the Internet.
User (%)Non-user (%) Significance of the difference
Notes: *The normal approximation may be inaccurate for small samples; **denotes that there is a
significant difference between the users and non-users at 95 per cent confidence level
Internet banking usersNon-users
Branch ATM Telephone Internet banking Branch ATM Telephone Internet banking
Note: Italicised numbers highlight the highest proportions for delivery channel preferences
Preference rankings for
channels by Internet
banking users and
IB users, on the other hand, emerged as technology-oriented customers who “prefer
technological convenience”, “like to make use of technology”, and “like things that are
automated or computerised”. They indicated that they could fulfill their information
requirements by “Internet banking” as well as at bank branches and could do all their
transactions over the Internet even when they could not physically reach any bank
branch. As opposed to non-users, they believed that transactions done by IB were as
User status n
Mean Significance (2-tailed)
I prefer technological convenienceUser
I prefer personal communication in my transactions User0.160*
I like to make use of technology 0.000*
I do not like changes from the usual way I do things User 0.225*
I am knowledgeable about the various methods for
accessing my account
I do not like things that are automated or
I feel confident of using electronic banking methods
for accessing my account
I believe that I will have less problem by using bank
branches for my transactions
I prefer going to bank branches despite my
permanent Internet access
I believe that many transactions can not be done by
Transactions done at bank branches are more costly User
I can fulfill my information requirements by
“Internet banking” as well as at bank branches
I believe my transactions done by “Internet banking”
are as correct as those done at bank branches
I only think of using reliable banks’ “Internet
I can do all my transactions by “Internet banking”
even in those places without any bank branch
I learn new services and service improvements at
bank branches rather faster than learning from
I am knowledgeable of all the benefits of “Internet
Seven days and 24 hours bank services are not
important for me
I do not believe that I can get adequate help for a
problem I face during my “Internet banking”
Note: *Denotes that there is a significant difference between the users and non-users at 95 per cent
towards Internet banking
correct as the ones done at branches. They also thought that transactions done at bank
branches were more costly. Reinforcing the findings of previous researchers that 24
hours availability is the main advantage of IB (Lockett and Litter, 1997), the present
research demonstrates that IB users are concerned with the all day round accessibility
to banking services.
Bank selection criteria and customer segments
How much importance the respondents gave to various bank selection criteria was of
critical concern in Internet-based banking. In the related literature, the selection criteria,
such as security, transaction speed, user-friendliness, and convenience were regarded as
the most important factors in the perceived usefulness of Internet-based e-banking (Liao
and Cheung, 2002). Other factors influencing selection and adoption of IB services were
convenience aspects of the service and ease of use (Daniel, 1998). Therefore, several
attributes ranging from security to service variety were included in the questionnaire and
measured on a five-point scale (1 ¼ not important at all, 5 ¼ very important). The
attributes are presented in decreasing order by their arithmetic means in Table VII. The
findings reflect that the most important three attributes in customers’ bank selection
processes were related to security, reliability, and privacy issues.
Advertising and suggestions from friends and colleagues, however, were seen as the
least important factors.
To identify the major customer segments among IB users, the above attributes were
put to factor analysis which is commonly used in market segmentation studies for
identifying the underlying variables on which to group customers (Malhotra, 1999).
Overall scale’s reliability was tested by Cronbach’s alpha which was 0.863 and above
the acceptable level of 0.70 (Hair et al., 1998). The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin’s measure of
sampling adequacy was 0.822. After the varimax rotation process, three dimensions
representing three customer segments and explaining the 66.43 per cent of the total
variance emerged (Table VIII). One of the statements, “salary account in that bank”,
was excluded from the analysis due to a factor loading value below 0.50. Segment 1,
referred as “speed seekers”, represented those customers who gave importance to
download speed, transaction speed, user-friendly Web site innovativeness, and
privacy. The second segment, named as “cautious users”, valued reliability of the bank,
security of the Web site, IB service variety, and loyalty. The third segment was seen
Security of the Web site
Reliability of the bank
Salary account is in that bank
User friendly Web site
IB service variety
Suggestions of colleagues/friends
Bank selection criteria for
Internet banking services
rather open to the influence of external factors such as advertising and suggestions of
others, and hence, named as “the exposed users”.
Internet banking services used and their clustering
In the present research, various IB services offered to bank customers were evaluated
with view to their usage frequency. Customers were asked to rate their IB services
usage on a five-point Likert scale ranging from never used (1) to most frequently (5).
Accordingly, most frequently used IB services were ranked as payments, information
gathering, and EFT (Table IX).
In order to identify homogeneous clusters of IB services, hierarchical cluster analysis
was performed on the transaction types in Table IX. Complete linkage method, ensuring
that all variables in a cluster are within a maximum distance and producing clusters with
similar diameters, was used. After examining the similarity and the distance levels in the
amalgamation steps and in the dendrogram (Figure 3), the four-cluster solution was
chosen. The services were clustered in the following four groups:
(1) Information services.
(2) Money transfers (EFT and payments).
(3) Investment services (stock, bond, and mutual funds).
(4) Repo and currency exchange services.
(% variance explained) LoadingCronbach’s a
0.9065 Download speed
User friendly Web site
F2 Cautious users
0.7260Reliability of the bank
Security of the Web site
IB service variety
Suggestions of colleagues
Varimax rotated factor
Mean St. dev.
transactions used in
Discussion and managerial implications
This study has attempted to describe the Internet banking phenomenon primarily by
analyzing the attitudes, behaviour, and preferences of highly educated consumers. The
distinguishing demographic, attitudinal, and behavioral characteristics of IB users and
non-users were investigated in an academic institution. The analyses provided
evidence that there were significant differences between the two groups with respect to
demographic profiles, attitudinal properties, and preferences for service delivery
channels. While the IB users were mid-aged, male, more technology-oriented, and
convenience-minded consumers, non-users were younger (below 30 years of age), or
older, more traditional channel oriented, and hesitant consumers, lacking confidence in
IB services compared to the services delivered at bank branches.
If taken as a single consumer segment, IB users did not form a homogeneous group
with view to their preferences for IB institutions. They represented three sub-segments
according to which factors they valued most in an Internet bank.
The research results have several implications that may be considered by banking
institutions and their managers. Firstly, the present research draws attention to the
importance of the “highly educated” consumer groups which deserve special attention
customers will likely to be less costly for the banks than those having lower educational
sub-segments within the IB using customers. The banks may more specifically design
their marketing offers or value propositions according to the needs of these groups. For
example, the promotional message for the “cautious users” may primarily address such
themes as reliability, security, and loyalty. For the “speed seekers” segment, on the other
hand, the message content should suggest speed, dynamism, and innovativeness. A third
implication is that although the advantages of IB are quiteclear from the bank managers’
viewpoint (MoutinhoandPhillips,2002;Yakhlef,2001),it seemsunclearthat why someof
the bank services are used at minimum by IB customers. Such IB transactions as mutual
funds, bonds, foreign exchange operations, and repo were found to be the most
Service groups in Internet
infrequently used service items. It is, therefore, of importance for banks to explore the
reasons for customers’ reluctance for using these services over the Internet. In doing this,
the banks may have the opportunity to develop the required communication programs to
inform and attract their customers to these services. One last implication is concerned
with the grouping of IB service items. In the present research, it is demonstrated that
various service categories can be classified in homogeneous groups in terms of their
usage levels. Having considered the findings of the McKinsey report that “the present
productivity problems of Turkish banks were concerned with some organizational
weaknesses in key output areas, including product bundling” (MGI, 2003), a careful
clustering of IB services can be formulated through which the efficiency of the service
delivery process is increased.
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