Online checking is accessible from any part of the country with Internet access, but it is hardest to get initial access to online checking in rural areas. According to the Pew Research Center, while more than half of all Americans bank online, in rural areas, only 42 percent use the service as of 2013.
According to the same study, 85 percent of Americans are regular Internet users, and in rural areas, the number is 80 percent. While access to the Internet plays some role in limiting online banking, a bigger factor is the presence of large banking institutions. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis notes that while large banks have a presence in many rural areas, they often hold less than 50 percent of the deposits in a community. Additionally, in large sections of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas, there is no large banking presence at all. Large banks are the main source of online checking, and their absence in the rural Midwest limits access for many people.
The first online banking services were available in 1981 in New York City. Online banking is more popular in suburban and urban areas. Online banking use skews heavily towards higher incomes, higher education levels, youth and men.