OVER TWO IN FIVE BRITS FEEL MORE AT RISK OF CYBER HACK FROM SMARTPHONE PAYMENTS THAN A YEAR AGO

New research reveals contactless payment fears of data theft, yet people still taking the same risks with their personal information

New research has revealed over two fifths of UK consumers (43%) today feel more at risk when paying for items and services on their smartphone compared to a year ago.

With data breaches and cyber-attacks hitting the headlines more so than ever before, it’s hardly surprising that consumers are fearful over the safety of their valuable personal data when using these alternative payments methods.

Recent figures revealed that the number of Europeans regularly using a mobile device to make payments has tripled in the past year. In the UK alone, nearly three quarters of those surveyed by Visa said they are mobile payment users – reaching for their devices to transfer money to friends or paying for a takeaway.

Yet despite this adoption, do UK consumers actually feel safe doing so?

In fact, the findings, commissioned by global IT security firm Thales e-Security, found nearly three quarters (72%) of the 2,000 UK consumers surveyed worry about the risks associated with using contactless payments or when paying for things through their smartphone. Brits are most worried about having their financial data stolen by hackers, with nearly a third (29%) admitting this as their biggest fear when using the technology, closely followed by identity theft and not knowing where their data goes.

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Yet, despite these fears, 45% admitted they do not take more precautions to protect the data on their smartphones from potential hackers now compared to a year ago.

Other findings from the research reveal:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 Brits fear their identity could be stolen by hackers when paying for goods using their smartphone
  • There was a generational trend in fears: The biggest concern for the younger generation (aged 18-24) was where their data actually goes, with 15% of them saying this was their biggest fear. The older generation, however, cited their personal details (their financial data or identity) being hacked as their biggest worry when paying for things using their smartphone
  • The older generation were more likely to take more precautions, with two thirds (66%) admitting they now take more precautions today than compared to a year ago
  • 1 in 10 Brits do not know how to protect the data on their smartphone

In response to these findings, Jose Diaz, director of payment strategy at Thales e-Security said:

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“As cash continues to decline in popularity, a focus on securing the digital alternatives has to be a number one priority. Consumers across the UK are becoming more fearful of using the technology, sharing their concerns that their valuable, personal information could be stolen or compromised by hackers.

“Recognising the differences in securing digital payments compared to traditional payment methods, as well as educating consumers on how to best secure their data, is essential for innovative new payment methods to prosper without the security hiccups.”

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