€7bn transacted online at Ulster Bank in last 10 years

20 Jul 2010

Ulster Bank’s internet banking service Anytime Banking has seen €4.7bn worth of transactions in the Republic of Ireland in the last 10 years since it was set up and up to €7bn across the entire island of Ireland.

Speaking with Siliconrepublic, Glynis Hobson, Ulster Bank’s head of direct banking said that one in three Ulster Bank customers now use the online banking facility.

She said that up to 875,000-plus transactions of various descriptions, from bill paying, money transfers and other payments are going across the online banking site every week.

Hobson added that the level of online banking has been increasing across all age levels due to two factors: availability of broadband access and added security.

“Security is still the No 1 concern from a customer’s perspective and we have ensured we have continually invested to stay ahead of the game, especially ahead of fraudsters and phishers.”

Among the systems Ulster Bank has invested in is a free downloadable software called Rapport that Ulster Bank encourages customers to download. “It reassures customers and gives them additional levels of security. It works with existing anti-virus and firewall software and helps reduce the chances of a customer being targeted by phishers.”

Other innovations include an iPhone app that is available in Northern Ireland. The app isn’t yet available in the Republic because the Republic’s banks aren’t connected to the same Link ATM network that works across Northern Ireland and the UK.

“Customers love the app and have downloaded it 10,000 times,” she said. The app includes the ability to set up text messages that inform customers if their balances are running low.”

Asked what are the core lessons the bank has learned from the last decade of internet banking, Hobson said: “People think the internet is faceless, but you have to make it personal to them. For a lot of people, given the economy, they’re looking at new services that matter, such as helping them to save for holidays in the absence of bonuses, so we’ve created a new service that allows people to set up goals and remind them to stick to them.”

She said that one of the fastest-growing communities of online bankers happens to be the silver surfers, people over the age of 60 who are gaining confidence in using the internet.

“Most people now have laptops that they use to book holidays and rather than going into their branches to do basic things can now go online. As they become more comfortable and confident, their expectations grow,” Hobson said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years