Different nations’ online banking habits: better safe than sorry?


Would you bank online without the protection of security software? If your answer is “no, don’t be silly”, then you are in agreement with the more than 77% of British internet users who make sure they have a security solution in place when using online financial services.

This is according to a survey conducted by ESET in four countries – the US, the UK, Germany and Russia – which found that Britain the most security-focused nation when it comes to online banking.

Lagging slightly behind, Americans were in second place, with almost 74% using security software when banking online, followed by 68.9% of Germans and 64.6% of Russians.

By contrast, one in every six Germans (17.4%) do not use any security software, compared to 13.9% of Russians, 13.7% of Americans and only 11.0% of Brits. Interestingly, more than a fifth of Russians (21.5%) weren’t sure if they had any security solution in place, contrasting with 13.7% of Germans, 12.5% of respondents in the US and 11.5% in the UK.

The different ways we use online banking

What varies widely between respondents in the four countries is how they tend to use online banking. Germans (64.0%) and Russians* most often use it to pay their electricity, rent or other bills.

In the US (56.5%) and the UK (50.7%) this is only a secondary function, after checking one’s account balance. 72.9% of Americans and 77.6% of British users who were polled chose the latter as their favorite option.

“The least-cited aim for online banking users in all four countries was personal financial management.”

The least-cited aim for online banking users in all four countries was personal financial management.

Looking at online banking usage, and perceptions of how secure online banking is (and there are threats to be aware of) internet users in Western nations are somewhat cautious when compared to those in Russia.

In this ranking, Germans emerge as the most conservative of the four nations surveyed, in terms of the numbers preferring not to use online financial services, followed by the US and the UK. By contrast, the survey data shows that Russians are the most common users of online banking among the polled nations.

*UK, US and DE respondents were allowed multiple choices; RUS respondents could choose only one.

Full statistics below:

What online banking services do you use most often? UK US DE* RUS
Web-based Internet banking 29.49% 27.32% N/A% 48.20%
Mobile banking apps 29.26% 26.75% N/A% 23.80%
I don’t use online banking services 41.25% 45.93% N/A% 28.10%
Why do you use online banking services? UK US DE RUS
Pay bills 50.69% 56.54% 64.00% 37.80%
Check status of my bank accounts 77.61% 72.83% 60.00% 32.70%
Personal financial management 40.73% 32.07% 34.80% 29.50%
Do you have security software installed on the device you normally use for online banking? UK US DE RUS
Yes 77.45% 73.75% 68.90% 64.60%
No 11.02% 13.76% 17.40% 13.90%
I don’t know 11.53% 12.49% 13.70% 21.50%
Behavior by Security SW usage Yes No I don’t know
Pay bills 77,21% 10,42% 12,37%
Check status of my bank accounts 74,76% 13,72% 11,52%
Personal financial management 76,32% 14,64% 9,03%
Behavior by Security SW usage Yes No I don’t know
Pay bills 81,59% 10,11% 8,30%
Check status of my bank accounts 80,46% 10,43% 9,11%
Personal financial management 82,00% 10,48% 7,52%
Behavior by Security SW usage Yes No I don’t know
Pay bills 72.84% 17.59% 9.57%
Check status of my bank accounts 71.38% 17.85% 9.87%
Personal financial management 71.67% 16.15% 12.18%


In the specific breakdown on how online banking is being used and about habits, we address only percentages from the group of online banking users.

The surveys were conducted during Q3 of 2015 on a demographically representative sample of at least 1,000 Internet users in each country. Surveys were conducted in the UK, US and Germany by Google Surveys, and in Russia by Merku.

by Ondrej Kubovič

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