Despite a recent spate of computer breakdowns and security breaches at bank Web sites, European consumers continue to trust their banks to safeguard their data and finances when shopping online.
The findings come from a survey of 15,000 consumers in 15 countries commissioned by payment card operator Europay International. The research, carried out by SBS International, indicates that banks are in a unique position to offer reassurance and peace of mind about online security relating to virtual shopping.
In comparison to other institutions, levels of trust in banks are high across all countries, with 68% saying that they trusted their bank to keep personal data safe. By contrast, telephone companies are trusted in this way by a lower 44%. Concerns about online security and inexperience of the Web are big issues for Internet retailers, which are trusted by only 15% of Europeans. Moreover, 31% say they have no trust at all in these organisations when it comes to storing data. Banks in Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden), Germany and Belgium were most trusted.
"The results of this survey highlight how European consumers see banks as trustworthy and vital players in this rapidly evolving virtual world. This confirms the strategic importance of banks offering digital wallets which provide convenience and security for their customers," says Brian Morris, product manager, electronic commerce, at Europay International.
Indeed, one in four Europeans would be more likely to shop at sites on secure lists published by their banks. The Finns and Swedes are especially supportive of the idea of banks publishing lists - 72% of those in Finland and 48% in Sweden would be more likely to buy from sites on these lists. These results indicate that bank endorsements are especially important in more developed e-commerce and Internet markets like Scandinavia.
The survey also tracked consumer percpeptions about the impending transition to a single currency. Even though euro notes and coins won't be introduced until January 2002, dual-pricing is picking up during the transition phase.
Currently, only 15% of Europeans would be more likely to shop at sites quoting prices in euro. Within euroland the Finns are the most enthusiastic with 48% saying they'd be more likely to buy online at euro-priced sites. The Italians and French are relatively supportive - 18% and 16% respectively would prefer these sites. Outside euroland, Turkish people are most optimistic about the euro - 27% would be more likely to buy from a euro site.