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October 13th, 2011

No point in going to the bank … in Norway

It has been raining a little over the last 3 days in Prague but the weather for weekend should improve.  Sunny skies and temperature around 12 °C (about 54F) are expected.  In general, the weather in Central Europe is mild and comfortable.  Nothing extreme and this is what we are used to.  That also means when we do have 3 centimeters of snowfall in Prague,  it is a ‘calamity’ with a traffic jam throughout the whole city and everything stops working.  I guess the winters in northern parts of Europe are much more harsh and unless there are 3 meters of snow nobody really bothers to call it unusual.  And I also would imagine that it is the weather, lots of snow and 20-hour long winter nights, which drive internet usage up there.

If you look at online banking habits by country; the inhabitants of Norway, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Denmark top the list.  While the European average is around 40%, in Norway 8 out of 10 people use internet banking.  It makes perfect sense.  If the road to the bank and the bank itself is covered with 3 meters of snow for half of year, it is much better to stay at home, sit next to the fireplace, enjoy a piña colada – or what ever the favorite drink is for such nights – and pay the bills online.

On the other side, internet users in Italy, Cyprus and Greece have no such issues – I mean with snow not with piña colada – and as the enclosed chart shows, they don’t use the online banking that much.  And it is not just online banking.   The Eurostat collects also data on online shopping habits and on online booking of holidays.  And the snow factor is also visible here.  Nothern Europeans are the leaders in using the internet to book their holidays while pretty much nobody would do such a thing in Italy or Greece.

After all, why bother when a sandy beach is just around the corner.

Btw, it just makes me wonder what global warming will do to the future of online banking…

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