Irish businesses reluctant to bank online

18 May 2007

Although 94pc of Irish businesses have internet access, only 39pc are likely to buy online, with 19pc actually selling online.

These figures were outlined by Dermot Nolan, head of business marketing for Bank of Ireland, at the Irish Internet Association’s (IIA) national conference in Killiney yesterday from Bank of Ireland’s own research into the area.

Nolan claimed that a buy-sell gap was emerging and said Irish businesses “simply don’t do enough business online”.

Out of Irish businesses with web access it was found that 32pc of large organisations were still using narrowband and 73pc of small businesses were relying on this method of access also.

Despite the apparent lack of availibility of broadband to small companies around the country, the IT industry appears to be growing steadily.

Irish businesses all across the board are now investing €16k per annum on new IT systems.

Bank of Ireland has also found that of recent start-ups doing business with them, the third-most popular are software and IT companies.

Nolan addressed the nature of online business in Ireland given this current climate, where there has been an increase by 100pc of online payments in the past year. He said: “The days of cheques are numbered.”

He pointed out that, although many businesses may not be aware, the average cost of processing one cheque is €1.20 compared to 29c for the same transaction online.

Bank of Ireland estimated that the typical offline Irish business spends €160.48 and a total of eight hours on bank charges per month.

In comparison, the average business doing their banking online spends €57.78 in bank charges and spends about 1.5 hours on carrying this out.

There is a need, Nolan said, for Irish businesses to keep up with their European counterparts in terms of online banking before it evolves again.

The next step is already taking place in Scandinavia and Japan, he said, with biometric payments, contactless cards, and mobile payments starting to emerge in these countries.

By Marie Boran