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ESET investigates Australians' attitudes to financial technology

On average, Australians use three financial technology applications, but many are lax in their cyber hygiene practices.

This is according to new research from ESET on attitudes towards financial technology and cybersecurity. The findings specifically highlight Australian attitudes.

The focus of the research

Respondents from both consumer and business perspectives were asked a series of questions on the topics of financial technology, cybersecurity and their impacts on securing finances in a COVID-19 world, particularly in light of the lockdowns.

According to ESET, the project seeks to examine a range of themes in relation to experiences with financial technology for both consumers and businesses, including concerns around the security of finances, transactions and financial data, current FinTech application usage and attitudes, and business perspectives on the future of FinTech solutions in a post-COVID world.

What do consumers have to say?

The consumer segment of the survey revealed that 50% of Australian consumers use between one and five FinTech applications, but that while 85% of respondents have security software installed on at least one device, less than half have it on all their personal devices.

Meanwhile, 40% of people log in and use financial accounts while connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots or other open networks, and 46% do not use a VPN while 38% of people do not use a password manager.

The age group with the highest usage of password managers is those in the 35-44 range.

This is of particular concern because young Australians are among the biggest adopters of FinTech applications, ESET states.

Over a third (36%) of 18-24-year olds manage their bank account solely via app and 24-25 year olds have the highest rate of managing their bank accounts online at 95%.

What's important moving forward?

According to ESET, as our lives become increasingly digitised and we embark on COVID-19 recovery journeys, it is imperative that the devices and technologies we use to share our most sensitive financial information are protected to the highest standard.

ESET Australia country manager Kelly Johnson says, “The way Australians approach using banking and other other financial services has changed dramatically in recent years and the majority of users are comfortable from a security point of view when using FinTech apps while also finding these apps give them a better experience.

"But it's important that consumers don't take security for granted or assume that the apps they use are inherently secure or free from flaws."

"Use security apps, avoid public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions and be mindful of the data these apps may be collecting and what they're doing with it," Johnson says.

ESET's reinforced focus

According to ESET, financial technology will play a critical role in personal and societal economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19, and it has never been more important that FinTech solutions are adequately protected.

The safety and security of consumers and businesses is central to ESET's core values, and the global survey has been undertaken in order to pinpoint the emerging and current technologies that are central to people's lives and the attitudes they hold towards them, the company states.

The wider study investigates other technologies, including cryptocurrencies and bitcoin, blockchain, online-only banking and more.

ESET chief business officer Ignacio Sbampato says, “We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technological innovation and security insights, and this project is a reflection of that.

"Our global financial technology survey will enable us to explore attitudes towards emerging and established technology and inform our offerings to both consumers and businesses to ensure they are always protected to the highest standard.

"We want to help people, both personally and professionally, to understand and combat the risks that come with using any kind of technology, and to do that, we must keep our finger on the pulse of global technology trends.”