Dutch and French Are Most Avid Online Bank Customers

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The Dutch and French are the most avid users of Internet banking in Europe, with the secretive Swiss among the least inclined to bank online, according to market researcher ComScore.

Braving the threat of phishing attacks and other security hazards, around a third of Europe's 306 million Internet users aged 15 and over visited an online banking site in February, ComScore said Thursday.

The proportion was highest in the Netherlands, where 52.9 percent of surfers visited a banking site, followed by France (49.9 percent), Sweden (48.4 percent) and the U.K. (46.1 percent). Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Spain and Norway also had more online banking users than the European average.

Swiss banking clients, however, appear not to trust the Internet when conducting their business: only 15.9 percent of them visited a banking Web site during the month, putting the country in 16th place among those surveyed.

French bank Crédit Agricole was the most-visited online banking site in Europe in February, ComScore said, with the U.K.'s Lloyds Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) not far behind. Three of the top ten banking sites, ranked by number of European visitors, were French, four British, one German (Sparkassen), one U.S. (Citigroup) and one Swedish (Swedbank) -- a strong performance from a country that only accounts for 2.7 percent of European Internet users.

Crédit Agricole's site received 8.9 million visitors in February, according to ComScore; the bank claims 20 million French retail banking customers for its Crédit Agricole brand, and a further 6 million for its LCL subsidiary.

Lloyds received 7.3 million visitors, putting it ahead of RBS (6.9 million) and seventh-placed HSBC (5.3 million), which in addition to its core U.K. activities also has over a million customers in France.

ComScore began tracking visits to banking sites in February, noting that bank customers are now more than ever keeping a close watch on their savings and spending.

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