Currently there are 24 million Germans which carry out their banking operations over the internet. This figure corresponds to 38% of the total population between 16 and 74 years of age. Five years ago there had been just 21% (13 million Germans) using online banking. According to the German Association for Information Management, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM), online banking is particular popular among men (43% use it), while only 34% of women use online banking.
One of the reasons for the increasing popularity of online banking is the possibility to carry out financial transactions around the clock as well as smaller fees required by online banks.
Germany with its 38% of online users ranks 9th among EU member states. The European average percentage is 29%. Leading in this respect is Finland where 72% of the population use online banking followed by the Netherlands (69%) and Sweden (65%). Estonia and Latvia rank 5th and 8th respectively.
With the introduction of an electronic passport which is planned for autumn 2010 online banking in Germany could become significantly more widespread given that the new passport could be issued with a digital signature which would make internet use more secure. This signature could be used on many other occasions as well.