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Online banking use has increased during the ongoing recession as consumers are apparently keeping a closer eye on their finances, according to a new survey.The online survey by Forrester Consulting was commissioned by Fiserv Inc. of Brookfield, Wis., and found that 71% of consumers reported keeping a closer eye on their finances than they did a year earlier. It also found that 28% are using online banking more than they did a year ago, compared with 10% increasing ATM use and 9% going to a branch more and 6% reporting increased use of automated phone systems.The survey was conducted online among 1,009 U.S. consumers in October. More than three-fourths said they use online banking and 63% said that managing all of their accounts online “from one site would help them feel more in control of their finances,” Fiserv said.“In these difficult times, financial institutions are looking for new ways to reach out to consumers and provide value,” said Todd Lesher, division president of Fiserv Electronic Banking Services. “This survey indicates that online banking is still a great opportunity for financial institutions looking to strengthen their ties with consumers.”The survey also found that 60% of respondents reported spending less than they did a year ago, and 24% are paying more with cash. Two-thirds said they were driving less, 27% canceled vacation plans and 18% have delayed new car purchases.Thirty-six percent said had tapped savings to help pay bills, and 34% had paid a bill with a credit card in the past 12 months. Meanwhile, 29% said they had decreased how much they were depositing into savings accounts and 19% said they were putting less in checking.More information on the survey is at www.checkfreecorp.com/banksurvey.–[email protected]

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