The Internet is still the most popular way for consumers to access banking services, according to the latest survey by the American Bankers Association, or ABA, a banking industry group in Washington, D.C.
As many as 39 percent of respondents chose accessing the Internet via a desktop or laptop computer as their preferred way to conduct banking business, making the Internet the top choice for the fifth consecutive year.
Another 18 percent of respondents chose visiting a bank branch while 11 percent selected ATMs as their favorite way to access banking services.
The trend remains unchanged. Internet banking and branch banking were preferred by 39 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of respondents in last year's survey as well.
ATMs dropped 1 percent in preference from 12 percent last year.
Internet, or online, banking became the most preferred banking method in 2009, when 25 percent of survey respondents selected that option. Previously, visiting a branch was the most popular, followed by ATMs.
In a statement, ABA Senior Vice President Nessa Feddis said it wasn't surprising that branches remained near the top of the list.
"Many people prefer sitting down with someone to discuss complex transactions like opening an account or applying for a home or business loan," Feddis said.
More consumers preferred mobile banking to banking by phone or U.S. mail this year, but none of those options was preferred by a large percentage of respondents.
Though mobile banking has posted consistent gains, it was preferred by only 8 percent of those surveyed, up from 6 percent last year. Mobile banking refers to using a smartphone, personal digital assistant, tablet or similar device to access banking services.
Feddis said digital and mobile banking were "increasingly popular with consumers who want account management tools at their fingertips."
This year, 7 percent of respondents selected U.S. mail and another 7 percent picked phone banking as their top choice. Last year, mail was preferred by 8 percent and telephone by 9 percent.
The proportion of respondents who chose "don't know" increased from 8 percent last year to 11 percent this year.
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