Forty million Germans prefer to conduct their banking in person at their local bank branch. I am one of them – even though, at 26, I am only slightly older than online banking itself, which launched in the mid-1990s, and I fit the profile for an online-only customer.
According to the Association of German Banks, just 8 percent of Germans managed their bank accounts online in 1998. So perhaps it isn’t a complete surprise that I grew up with the outdated system of banking at my local branch.
Deposits were made the old-fashioned way: first by hand with the assistance of an actual bank teller and then entered almost digitally at the automated teller. I never made the jump to online banking.
But why is that?
For many people, one reason to avoid online banking is their concern over data security on the Internet. Stolen transaction numbers sent by text message and password theft are simply facts of life with electronic banking. Total protection does not exist.
Maybe I just don’t want to check my bank account 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as I do with Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and emails.
Based on this yardstick, however, I should also eschew Amazon, Ebay and Paypal. But naturally I don’t.
The prevailing sentiment suggests that younger people conduct their banking more often than not via laptop, smart phone or tablet. But a recent survey revealed no difference at all between 16-to-29 and 50-to-69 age groups.
Within my age group, I belong to the minority 15 percent who completely refrain from online banking. My mother, on the other hand, is my polar opposite. She has been banking electronically since the end of the 1990s.
In other words: Age has nothing to do with it.
Perhaps it has more to do with gender? But that’s rather unlikely considering the survey results, which indicated just a single percentage-point difference between men and women.
So my reluctance to bank online has neither to do with data security, nor age, nor gender. Then why do I prefer to go to my bank every two weeks, print out my statement and make my transfers manually rather than on my laptop in the comfort of my own home?
Until writing this article, I never really thought about why I don’t bank online. Even now, I cannot come up with a logical reason.
Maybe I just don’t want to check my bank account 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as I do with Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and emails. Maybe this is the last shred of my life able to muster a revolt against omnipotent digitalization, as if clutching to a Gallic tradition.
But maybe I simply don’t want to register for online banking.
Kathrin Witsch is a trainee at Handelsblatt. To contact: email@example.com