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Technology drives change

IN the ever-changing world of e-commerce, more and more busi-nesses are scrambling to get online and banks must continually re-invent their services to stay in step.

From, EFTPOS to telephone banking and now online banking, the emphasis is on speed and customer convenience.

According to Commonwealth Bank national e-commerce general manager Bernadette Fifield, just over 15 per cent of their business clients were online.

“This is growing at about 10 per cent each month,” she said.

“As between 50 and 80 per cent of Australian small to medium enterprises have Internet access, and this is growing significantly, facilities such as online banking will become an intrinsic part of their businesses over time.”

The reason for this attraction is the convenience online banking affords to businesses, according to the head of the BankWest e-commerce division Marcus Stafford.

“We find our customers are looking for greater convenience and ease to do their banking, they are getting that online,” Mr Stafford said.

Big savings on transaction fees and bank charges are also a major drawcard.

And more than simply balancing their books, businesses are using tailored packages to do payrolls, funds transfers, bill paying, Business Activity Statement payments, checking exports and business to business e-commerce.

The demand for e-commerce solutions is so great that BankWest will open a new business banking suite later this year.

The trend is yet to become universal, with many small companies still preferring to do their banking the old way.

However, to stay competitive these businesses may be forced into the world of technology.

“Some people have a fear of security, or the changing tech-nology and some people are just so busy running their businesses they have not yet found the time to discover how technology can make it easier,” Mr Stafford said.

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