Online banking has fast become a sensation in the finance industry. If you want to check your account balance, all you need is your phone or another electronic device. Gone are the days when you had to queue to make your mortgage payments. Nowadays, you can monitor your investments as you grab a coffee and catch up with friends. This convenience has changed the way people view bank transactions. And it is only set to get better with time. Before looking at what the future holds, it helps to look at how all this began. When did online banking start, and which banks were the first to jump onto the trend? Well, here is a brief breakdown on the same to help you understand who did what and when.

The United Kingdom

As things stand, this region is home to millions of online banking users. However, this was not always the case. Online banking did not exist for the better part of the twentieth century. Before it came about, people knew that bank procedures called for pen and paper, no matter how small. And boy, were the processes tiring! So when Nottingham Building Society introduced the Homelink service in 1982, it was quite a gamechanger. It was unheard of that one could get anything done at the bank without physical presence. And now, here was an institution offering to ease the work cut out for their clients. At first, the service was available to a few people before it got a national reach in the following year.

the history of online banking in England

What was Homelink? Well, this service was as a result of a partnership between the Prestel Service and the Bank of Scotland. It worked through connections from computers to telephone systems and television sets. This complex system allowed clients to do quite a lot from the comfort of their homes. For one, they could send and receive money, make payments, arrange for loans, and other such financial services.

Additionally, they had access to some retailers, and they could thus look at prices and order goods using the system. And that’s not all this service did for clients. It also allowed them to access information on restaurant menus, real estate listings, vacation options, and other such vital details. One could also make bids while seated at home. At the time, some paperwork was still necessary, but the bulk of work was now off clients’ hands.

Later on, the Stanford Federal Credit Union became the first institution to offer internet banking to its clients. Over time, it became possible for customers to monitor their accounts online, and this paved the way for more developments.

the first online banks in USA

Netbank, which had its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, also made its debut in the industry in 1996. It made a mark by providing the first internet-only financial institution. Soon after this, other institutions offered similar services.

The United States

Following the success of online banking in the UK, it was evident that other regions would follow suit. And the United States did not disappoint in this regard. Banks started by testing the consumer interest in the concept of online banking. Of course, they did not want to introduce a product that would not have a wide reception. Chemical Bank was one of the first banks to offer this service in the form of Pronto. This offering took place after online banking made its debut in the UK. This service worked best for small businesses and individuals by allowing clients to transfer funds and check balances. It also worked for the maintenance of checkbook registers. Other banks, such as Chase Bank, Manufacturers Hanover, and Citibank, also offered variations in online banking. They all offered home banking services to their consumers.


In France, online banking first underwent a testing period, with more than two thousand participants. That was in 1984 when other countries were fast embracing this mode of transaction. Four years later, most bank users were using Minitel terminals in their households for online banking. This form of banking was quite popular, and it paved the way for internet access to bank accounts.

Other countries also have interesting accounts of how online banking came to be. The thing that they share in common is the appreciation for its convenience and hopes for the future. Of course, there are many events in the economic history of the world in which online banks also participate.

the history of online banking in france