Fewer than a third of British adults bank online, a lower proportion than the Germans who do so. This is set to stay that way, according to a five-year forecast by research firm Forrester, despite three quarters of net users regularly shopping online.

Forrester said that just 31 percent of customer opted for online banking and attributed the low number to UK consumers still being content with visiting branches. It noted British adults remained among the most frequent branch visitors in Europe.

Fifteen million people currently bank online in the UK, and this number would see “slow” growth to 22m by 2012, Forrester said. The estimations were based on current Internet use by 4,226 UK consumers.

Benjamin Ensor, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said: “By international standards, the UK is an online banking laggard.” He added that the proportion of adults who banked online in the UK equalled that of France, which was surprising given that France has lower internet usage, he said.

"The UK also has a relatively large number of quitters," Ensor continued, "with about two million people saying that they used to use online banking but have given up."

But the research company said that, despite this, a gradual rise in web users' confidence in online banking, combined with a limited promotional activity by the banks, would push online banking numbers up.