U.S. consumers seeking personal finance products and services flocked to the Internet in record numbers last year to discover what is available, compare rates and make brand decisions, according to The Dieringer Research Group, a Milwaukee-based marketing information company. But most of these shoppers applied for services offline. The company drew its conclusions from a survey of 4,000 U.S. adults. The 2002 American Interactive Consumer Survey found that 58.7 million Americans relied on the Internet to learn about personal finance products and services last year. Of this total, 63%, or 36.8 million, followed up by applying offline for loans, credit cards, and insurance or investment products, compared with 21.8 million who applied online.

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