According to research by Gartner, when asked to indicate the importance of 18 different online banking features, both US and UK consumers ranked security first, followed by single sign-on.
Stessa Cohen, research director at Gartner, said: “As consumer adoption of online banking increases, banks are searching for ways to differentiate their services while maximizing the cost-effectiveness of self-service channels.
“Online banking represents a key opportunity to achieve these objectives if banks can provide the features that consumers prize most highly.”
Consumers also ranked the ability to make deposits online from home highly, along with the ability to set up a separate account. The ability to set up alerts for account and credit card balances and to analyse spending and cash flow were also popular.
Gartner found that younger online banking consumers value features that enable customisation of their online banking experience, while older customers seek tools that let them use current services more effectively or communicate better.
Further analysis indicated that older consumers want features that make the online banking channel itself easier to use, while younger consumers are looking for additional financial planning tools to help them manage their money more effectively.
Stephen Howes, CEO/CTO of GrIDsure, said: “Gartner's research quite rightly highlights the importance of balancing security and usability for internet banking systems. Consumers are clearly aware of the need for security, but are also tired of having to type in multiple passwords or codes generated from card readers. As customers become more discerning about their online banking needs, the quality of a bank's online system will increasingly become a point of differentiation.
“Ultimately, the winners of this battle will be those banks that can offer a simple to use, yet highly secure way of authenticating their customers, and with solutions currently available that won't ‘break the bank' there is really no reason for them not to start investigating the alternatives today.”