Majority of respondents feel secure when using financial apps or online platforms, but many still use public Wi-fi while doing financial transactions online.
As the GameStop stock-buying frenzy recently showed, financial transactions can now be easily conducted through a quick tap on an app. And as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, more Americans have turned to mobile banking apps since the onset of the lockdown restrictions. According to a survey released by ESET today, in fact, 65% of people now say they use at least one fintech app or platform and 85% use either banking apps or online banking platforms.
With more people keeping tabs on their money during a time of economic uncertainty, and with many of them doing so online, the ESET Global FinTech Study examined the online banking and finance habits of 2,000 consumers in the United States and 8,000 consumers across the UK, Australia, Japan, Mexico and Brazil. The survey also looked at whether people feel secure while banking online or on an app and if they are familiar with the privacy policies of the apps they use.
When asked in what ways the lack of access to physical banks during the COVID-19 lockdowns has changed their banking habits, 30% of Americans said that they have now been using online banking more frequently and 30% also said they have been using mobile banking more frequently. Becoming more interested in managing their own finances (23%) was the next most popular answer. Additionally, 15% of Americans said they have started using an exclusively online bank, while 14% have found themselves unable to make deposits by cash/checks as they used to.
While a significant percentage of people continue to use public Wi-fi, a majority also said that they feel secure when banking online. The survey found that:
- 93% of people feel secure when using online banking, with 55% of people saying they feel ‘very secure’
- 29% of people log in and use financial accounts while connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots or other open networks ‘all the time,’ while a further 22% do so ‘sometimes’
- 39% of people do not use a VPN to secure their connection while using financial applications
- 66% of people feel secure about their accounts/money when using digital wallet apps, 63% of people feel secure about budgeting apps, and 59% of people feel secure about their accounts/money when using trading apps
The survey also found that 50% of 35-44-year-olds have become involved in cryptocurrencies since the pandemic, higher than any other age group, a significant development, as ESET researchers recently found a slight increase in cryptomining activity following a decrease after the bitcoin crash in 2018.
“As more consumers turn to online and mobile banking for their financial transactions, they appear to be becoming more educated about staying safe online. However, many people still need to make sure they are practicing safe cyber habits that do not make their financial information more vulnerable to bad actors,” said Tony Anscombe, chief security evangelist for ESET. “This means, among other things, not using public Wifi without a VPN, which is an easy way for a cyber criminals to gain personal information and knowledge on which banks you hold accounts with.”
The ESET Global FinTech Study examined a range of themes in relation to experiences in online banking, financial technology and data security and privacy in a post-COVID world. Additional findings focused on online shopping were released in January. To view best practices on how to stay safe while banking online or using financial technology, visit https://www.welivesecurity.com/2020/06/12/fbi-warns-scam-apps-move-to-mobile-banking/.