FinTech increasingly popular for consumers and businesses worldwide, reveals new ESET research

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Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many aspects of life have slowed, stalled, or been cancelled altogether – but other areas have developed far more quickly than anyone expected. Reflecting on this past, unprecedented year, ESET – a cybersecurity leader – embarked on a project to examine one of these areas of acceleration: Financial Technology, or FinTech. Surveying over 10,000 consumers and senior business leaders across the UK, US, Australia, Japan, Mexico and Brazil, this research investigated experiences of FinTech, future predictions for FinTech solutions, cybersecurity habits and the security of finances in a covidian world.

As the world continues to experience the impact of COVID-19 and starts to prepare strategies for recovery post-COVID, the importance of cybersecurity in financial technology will become increasingly evident. We now have the opportunity to observe current trends in FinTech and security, and ensure that businesses and consumers alike are utilizing the necessary tools to both optimize and protect their finances.

FinTech use accelerating
Unsurprisingly, as many aspects of our lives have moved online due to lockdowns, the use of financial technology applications has risen. The consumer segment of ESET’s survey has revealed that 51% of global adult consumers use between one and five FinTech apps, including digital wallets, budgeting apps and online-only banks. Just one-third (33%) stated that their banking habits had not changed during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Looking into the future, over two-thirds (68%) of senior business leaders expect their companies’ investments in FinTech to increase by some extent in 2021-2022. Over half of businesses are already using online payment processors and online accounting to manage their finances, and a third are considering using regulatory technology (RegTech), branchless banks, and insurance technology (InsurTech).

Cybersecurity has taken a back seat
Despite the use of multiple FinTech applications, only half (49%) of consumers globally have security software installed on all their devices, leaving the other half open to cyberattacks on their finances. 42% of people do not use a password manager, either, which helps create strong and unique passwords that can hinder or stop brute-force attacks and credential stuffing. Consumers are also continuing to engage in risky behaviors when it comes to cybersecurity, such as carrying out financial transactions while connected to public WiFi hotspots.

When it comes to businesses, the vast majority (81%) agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for improved security of finances. Despite this recognition, almost a third (28%) are not actively investing in new technologies to help secure finances, or, at least, do not know if they are. As the use of FinTech applications and processes increases and becomes more important, it is crucial that cybersecurity practices keep pace, or individuals and businesses risk leaving themselves vulnerable to attacks.

Driving post-COVID recovery
Today’s world would have been practically unrecognizable at the beginning of 2020, and the rate of change is only likely to increase throughout 2021. A large part of this development will be devoted to recovery from the personal, social and economic impacts of COVID-19. Financial technology will play a critical role in this recovery for businesses and individuals, especially if further lockdowns continue to limit access to physical banks.

Forty-five percent of senior business leaders believe that online payment processors could help to drive profitability, thus helping companies get back on their feet after what has been a tough year for many. Consumers predict that they will carry out more online shopping post-pandemic, meaning that retailers will be processing more financial transactions online, and will need adequate and secure technology to do so.

Further findings from the research will be revealed sequentially throughout the early months of 2021. For more information on ESET, and how security software can help to protect you and your business, visit our website here: