Report on the internet economy. In focus: the financial sector Q3. 2002

01. 10. 2002.

In association with Westel Mobile Telecommunications Co. and Sun Microsystems Hungary, GKI Economic Research Co. conducts quarterly surveys on corporate internet usage and the development of the electronic economy in Hungary.

The present report outlines the financial sector’s position in the internet economy.


  • The GKI-Westel E-Finance Index has increased markedly. The surge is due primarily to the improving expectations of banks and insurance companies, which can be attributed to expanding online sales and to the predictions of responding companies that the growing role of the internet could have a more substantial impact on their markets than they had previously anticipated.

  • Currently, the use of mobile banking services (banking services via mobile phones) is more prevalent among households in Hungary than internet banking. The number of households using mobile banking services exceeds the number of online customers, while in the corporate segment the situation is reversed.

  • As a result of a 69% surge, the number of individual online banking customers totaled 207 thousand by September 30, 2002. The number of mobile banking customers was 215 thousand on September 30, 2002, reflecting a 72% rise over a one-year period.

  • The number of corporate mobile banking customers rose by 38% in one year to reach 26 thousand, while the number of internet banking customers in the corporate sector increased by 124%, exceeding 30 thousand by the end of the period.

* Four or five banks are planning to launch online or SMS/WAP-based mobile banking services within the next twelve months.


As in numerous other research projects of GKI Economic Research Co.,  the results of this survey  are synthesized in one index. This sentiment index  represents  the expectations of the financial sector (banks, insurance companies, securities firms) regarding the market impact of internet use and internet  applications. In the third quarter of 2002 the GKI-Westel E-Finance Index increased 11 points from the previous quarter to reach 23.9 points, which indicates growing optimism in the financial sector regarding internet-related business opportunities.

GKI-Westel e-Finance index

On September 30, 2002, banks offering checking account services had 207 thousand personal internet banking customers and 215 thousand mobile banking customers. The number of mobile banking customers, which had started out lower, increased at a faster pace and caught up with the number of internet banking customers in mid-2001 and has only increased its lead since then.

Over the period of the past year, the number of personal internet banking customers  rose by approximately 69%, while the number of mobile banking customers increased by some 72%.
Based on the expectations of banks, both services will continue to see rapidly increasing customer numbers over the course of the next year. The plans of four or five banks to launch online checking account services or securities sales and the anticipated implementation of SMS-based banking services at two banks and WAP-based services at four banks will also contribute to a robust growth in the number of customers.

Mobil banking and internet banking customers

In the corporate segment, however, the number of internet banking customers (30 thousand) still exceeds the number of mobile customers (26 thousand). The number of corporate mobile banking customers increased by 38% over a one-year period, while the number of internet banking customers rose by 124% during the same period.  In addition to the initially offered SMS-based information services, more and more banks have recently started offering services based on WAP technology, which enables users to initiate transactions as well. The following tables list the services currently offered by the individual banks.

Insurance companies think the internet could primarily play a role in the sales of travel insurance, home insurance, life insurance and mandatory liability insurance plans. They expect these products to see the fastest online sales growth.


The survey was carried out over the period of October-November 2002, covering all credit institutions, savings cooperatives, insurance companies and securities firms. The survey  was highly representative: banks were represented at 80%  in terms of total assets, and  insurance companies were represented at 62% in terms of premium revenues.