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Who uses FinTech? Adopters vs. non-adopters

Technology has played a pivotal role for well over three decades and continues to permeate all aspects of our lives. The pandemic has only intensified our reliance on technology, and one particular area that will continue to advance and become crucial to our lives is financial technology, or FinTech. By now, we are familiar with digital wallet applications such as Apple Pay and PayPal, but there is much more that consumers and businesses alike are utilizing in the world of FinTech.

To investigate the world of FinTech further, ESET surveyed 10,000 consumers across the UK, US, Australia, Japan and Brazil, investigating attitudes toward FinTech, future predictions of FinTech solutions, cybersecurity habits, and financial security and technology habits. One key question respondents were asked was how many FinTech apps/platforms they currently use to manage their finances. The research reveals that one in five consumers worldwide use four or more platforms, and two in five use between one and three platforms.

While those who use between one and three apps clearly do reflect some interest in FinTech services, we can broadly classify them as “non-adopters” compared to those who use four or more. This latter group – “FinTech adopters” – have more firmly cemented themselves as users of a range of FinTech apps and platforms. We decided to examine some of the differences between the two groups, including their attitudes and behaviors toward the applications they use and the safety precautions they pursue.

Who is using FinTech?
Interestingly, the gender split was only marginally different between the two groups, with women making up 52% of non-adopters and 45% of adopters. However, age was a clearer determinant, where across both groups, 25- to 34-year-olds were the primary users of FinTech. At the same time, men aged 35-44 did stand apart, sustaining higher levels of interest in FinTech than women in their age group.

Demonstrating security-mindedness
Regarding the safety precautions users take when using FinTech services, the results took an interesting turn. More non-adopters than adopters read both the terms and conditions and privacy policy before downloading a FinTech application. Breaking that down, 40% of non-adopters read the terms and conditions compared to 34% of adopters, while 36% of non-adopters read the privacy policy compared to 34% of adopters. Whether this comes from “digital overload,” “security fatigue” or adopters believing that “they have seen it all” concerning terms and conditions, making a stronger determination would require further data.

Perhaps most interesting of all, though, was the marked split in accessing financial accounts using public Wi-Fi or other open networks. A staggering 76% of FinTech adopters access their financial accounts while on public Wi-Fi compared to only 43% of non-adopters. We could imagine the “security fatigue” implied above, combined with the sticker shock that comes with the XL-sized data plans a trader or mobile intensive digital native might require to stay connected as part of the explanation. Non-adopters may also be more cautious in their approach to using technology and therefore less likely to take risks.

Or the divergence may indicate a higher level of confidence amongst FinTech adopters, or perhaps a sense of complacency. This could also explain the higher numbers of adopters using password managers and VPNs. Here, 86% of adopters use a password manager, compared to 62% of non-adopters – while 82% of adopters use VPNs compared to 56% of non-adopters. There is a chance that VPNs are being used as a blanket solution, a la “I’ve got mobile security and a VPN, screw it! I am safe!”

Where do you fit in? Do you have mobile security? If not…

No matter the number of FinTech apps or services consumers use, it is vital that cybersecurity and data protection are at the forefront of every user’s mind. While those more familiar with FinTech services may appear more tech savvy, and having invested in technologies to keep them safe, a sense of complacency about cybersecurity risks could derail their efforts. Whether you are just beginning to explore the world of FinTech or you’re a seasoned pro, there are critical steps we should all be taking to ensure our sensitive financial information does not fall into the wrong hands.

To find out about ESET’s wide portfolio to keep you and your finances safe, click here.

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About ESET
For 30 years, ESET® has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services for businesses and consumers worldwide. With solutions ranging from endpoint security to encryption and two-factor authentication, ESET’s high-performing, easy-to-use products give individuals and businesses the peace of mind to enjoy the full potential of their technology. ESET unobtrusively protects and monitors 24/7, updating defenses in real time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption. Evolving threats require an evolving IT security company. Backed by R&D facilities worldwide, ESET became the first IT security company to earn 100 Virus Bulletin VB100 awards, identifying every single “in-the-wild” malware without interruption since 2003.