More than 80 per cent of Australians use the internet to search for and purchase financial products and services, according to new research.
And that’s not all: most Australians say they are very likely to access the internet at least once a week or more.
But what’s behind the increased use of the internet?
In the new ABC Money study, we asked more than 80,000 Australians to rate how often they use the web for online finance.
Of those, 81 per cent said they used the internet regularly.
“Online banking is the biggest category for internet use.
It’s probably the most important.
I’m more likely to go online for money management than for banking,” says Matt Stiles, a financial adviser who uses the internet daily.”
There’s lots of other things to do with the internet.”
Online shopping, financial advice and other financial information are also popular online.
The ABC Money research also found the proportion of Australians who used the Internet to access financial information and applications rose by nearly two-thirds between 2013 and 2017.
Online payment systems like Paypal and Mastercard were the most popular, with an average of 7.8 per cent use per week.
The internet is also a major source of online payment processing and processing fees, with consumers paying more than $4 billion a year for online banking services.
“The big reason for this is the growing cost of fees, particularly when you’re using PayPal,” says Ian Young, senior research officer at financial advisory firm Forex Network Marketing.
“It is a significant part of what is driving Australians to spend more of their money online.”
Young says it’s also important to consider the costs of using an online platform.
“If you’re spending a lot of time online, you’re likely to be more likely than not paying for things online,” he says.
“That means you’re going to have to pay more.”
But what can you do about it?
Stiles says most people can manage the costs and spend less money online.
“People who are doing it online can be a lot more productive online, so that’s one of the things I like about it.
If I can’t spend money online, I can still manage my time online,” Stiles says.
The survey also found people spend less time on social media and less time with friends online.