The number of people investing on-line may have reached a peak, even as home banking continues to grow, according to a recent study by Inteco Corp.

The Norwalk, Conn., research firm concluded that on-line investor totals remained flat from last September to April, at 10 million users. The number of adults connected to the Internet jumped 28% during that time.

In the same period, on-line banking user totals grew 22%; bill payment users, 21%. The total using any form of on-line banking or bill paying grew by a million, to 5.6 million.

Senior analyst George Barto attributed the growth partly to banks' increasing use of the Internet, which consumers find easier than learning proprietary software.

Web-based investing may be a victim of market saturation, Mr. Barto said. The study showed that fewer people are tracking their portfolios on- line but more are trading stocks over the Internet.

The study also found that more than 40% of adults did personal financial business from their workplaces in April, up from 28% in September. More than twice as many men as women use work-based Internet accounts for access to financial records.

Though many survey respondents said they were concerned about network security, this did not deter them from doing transactions on the Internet, Mr. Barto said.

The study was based on interviews with 3,175 adults in September and 2,500 adults in April.

A separate Inteco survey of 49 banks found that the proportion offering services over the Internet grew from 22% in September to 70% in April.

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