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Incredibly, the fortieth anniversary of home computer banking will soon be upon us, but a lot has happened in those four decades. We take a look at the numerous developments that have taken us to online banking as we know it today.

It was December 1980 when United American Bank in Knoxville, Tennessee, partnered with electronics retailer Radio Shack to produce a secure custom modem for the TRS-80 home computer. This enabled the bank's customers to securely access their account information so that they could pay bills, check account balances and review loan applications; after they'd paid a monthly instalment for the service.

Homelink service in UK

In the UK, it was nearly two years later when what we would recognise as online banking was first seen. Nottingham Building Society launched its Homelink service in September 1982 through a partnership with the Bank of Scotland and BT's Prestel; a brand name for the Post Office's Viewdata videotex system that had been launched in 1979.

By using Prestel and a computer connected to the telephone system and television, users could transfer money between accounts, pay bills and arrange loans. However, in order to make transfers and bill payments, a written instruction giving details of the intended recipient had to be sent to the building society so that they could set up the details on the Homelink system.

Internet banking

Jump forward about 13 years and 1995 was when Wells Fargo became the first US bank to add account services to its website. In the same year, Presidential became the first US bank to open bank accounts over the internet. It was May 1997 when Nationwide would become the first UK provider of an internet banking service.

In the early 2000s, television banking with digital TV sets was trialled as a more convenient way for customers to pay bills, set up standing orders and transfer funds, as well as buy insurance. HSBC led the short-lived revolution, providing the service to customers that had a BskyB subscription.

Popularity of online banking

Since these early days, online banking has proved to be very popular. In fact, Statista - a provider of consumer data - claims that online banking has experienced year-on-year growth every single year since 2007 and reached 73 per cent in 2019; meaning nearly three out of four Brits are now using online banking.

Safety online

Naturally, we have to feel safe when banking online and that's achieved by the introduction of numerous measures to keep data safe, whether we're using computers or mobile devices.

Find out what to look out for, how to keep your information protected, what to do if you've been a victim of fraud, and what we do to protect you by visiting our online security page.

Secure Trust Bank PLC. Registered in England and Wales 541132. Registered Office: One Arleston Way, Solihull, B90 4LH.
Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Our registration number is 204550

All communications with us will be monitored/recorded to improve the quality of our service and for your protection and security.