At least 22 million adults in the U.K., or 53% of the country's 41.4 million regular Internet users, banked online in 2009, according to Financial Fraud Action UK, a payments trade group.

Last year was the first time the percentage of U.K. online banking users exceeded 50% of Internet users, the group said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the number of U.K. consumers banking by phone fell 9.9% in 2009, to 14.5 million, from 16.1 million in 2005.

Among the consumers who bank online, 95% use banking Web sites to check account balances, the most popular online banking activity in the U.K., the trade group said.

But many consumers prefer the phone. "Phone banking still remains a popular way for people to enquire about their account, with more than six in 10 phone-banking customers using the service," the group said.