With the exception of Internet brokerages, e-finance is back and stronger than ever. Savvy companies gave up on making us PDA-toting day traders and pushed more mundane transactions and simpler technology.
About $160 billion in mortgages was processed online last year. Getting a Net mortgage is becoming cheaper. Web leader IndyMac charges rates as much as 0.375% below market averages because its processing cost are so low.
Fifteen million people paid bills on the Net last year, up 60% from the level in 2000. Growth took off when the credit-card companies began promoting electronic payment on monthly paper bills.
ONLINE TAX PREP
Of about 60 million people who will prepare their own returns this year, the IRS expects 8.5 million to file on the Net, a 27% increase from last year. Electronic filing cuts refund-delivery time by 65% or more.
About 16 million U.S. households used online access to checking or savings accounts last year, up from 12 million in 2000. Customers like having no lines and 24-hour access. Several banks make a profit online.
By early 2000, Net players had grabbed 45% of the trades on Nasdaq and the Big Board. That share has dropped to 22% with the stock market crash, and few Wall Street analysts expect it to regain its peak any time soon.