The PayPal Global Trust and Safety Report, which surveyed 6,000 online users from the US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the UK, found that 56% of Americans, 53% of Canadians, and 49% of those in the UK feel their bank's online service is very secure. Continental European countries are less trusting of online banking security, with only 38% of the Spanish, 34% of the French and just 14% of Germans feeling their bank's online service is very secure.
The survey also looked at online banking penetration among Internet users and found that 81% of UK online users have online bank accounts. Figures for Canadians and US citizens were 73% and 67% respectively. Spaniards have the lowest usage with less than half (49%) holding an online bank account. France and Germany are equally engaged in online banking with around two thirds of online consumers in these countries holding an online banking account (68% and 65% respectively).
The figures from this study differ sharply from a study in April by Web metrics firm comScore. It found that of 37 countries it studied, Canada came top on Internet banking adoption in April 2008 with 67.1%, way ahead of the UK, with 49.5% of Internet users and the US on 44.4%.
PayPal says its e-mail survey, conducted by Ipsos Research, was completed by 1,000 people in each of six countries. All respondents had shopped online in the past 60 days. Quotas for age, gender and PayPal usage were set during the survey to ensure representative populations in each of the six countries.
Despite UK respondents' faith in online banking security, a third (34%) of online users say they receive at least one phishing email every day and one in seven (14%) online users in the UK claim to have been a victim of ID theft.
Fewer people claim to have been a victim in other countries surveyed: one in nine Americans (11%), one in ten Canadians (10%), 6% of the French, 5% of Spaniards and just 3% of Germans
Perhaps more worryingly the research also found that 40% of victims in the UK are unaware how their information was obtained or how the theft occurred. In fact, more than half of identity theft victims in the UK (52%) had to be contacted by their bank or credit card provider before they were even aware their details had been stolen.
Garreth Griffiths, head of risk management at PayPal UK, said, "With more people than ever banking online in the UK it's encouraging to see that so many believe the systems to be secure. It's really important however that people remain vigilant whenever they are making financial transactions online and don't inadvertently leave themselves open to becoming a victim of a scam or fraud."