Digitally savvy Brits are the biggest users of tech in Europe, yet they crave more digital means of managing their money, a major new report from investment platform eToro and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) reveals.
eToro’s new Digital Transformation Index (DTI) found the UK to be the number one user of tech on the continent, coming top of the pile when it comes to card payments and use of digital education platforms in particular.
Despite already being the leading nation when it comes to fintech use — and also being home to Europe’s leading fintech hub in London — the overwhelming majority of Brits say they want new and novel digital ways of managing their cash.
Some 60% of Brits want to see the growth of fintech, through the expansion of mobile payments, online investing platforms and online banking, compared to just 10% who are opposed. The levels of support are highest among younger adults in the UK, for example, 63% of 35-54 years old support fintech expansion compared to 55% of over 55s.
eToro’s DTI surveyed more than 18,000 Europeans to determine consumers’ level of engagement with tech and the prospects for further digital adoption in nine major European countries. It also contains a detailed analysis of data issued by the European Central Bank and the European Commission.
The UK’s leading position when it comes to digital money management is underlined by the high volume of transactions carried out by card. In 2019, the value of Brits’ card payments totalled approximately £1.1bn (equivalent to €995bn), making it the leading nation by far when it comes to paying with plastic. In France, its nearest rival, the figure was just €609bn.
The UK scores third highest in the Index when it comes to online banking use. Online banking is the technology most regularly used by all age groups, but it is older respondents who are most confident using it. More than six in ten (62%) over 55s consider themselves very capable of managing their accounts online compared to 52% of 18 to 34-year olds.
The research reveals that the more people use digital technologies, the more capable and confident they become, which prompts even more frequent use. Online banking is a good example of this, as 44% of over 55s say they use it on a regular basis at least four times a week.
In contrast, their level of comfort using mobile payments apps and online investment platforms is considerably lower, as their experience is more limited than younger age groups.
More than 7 in 10 (71%) respondents aged over 55 say they have rarely ever used a mobile payment app compared to just 21% of 18 to 34-year olds. This explains why nearly a third (32%) say they have no capability using them, which is more than three times higher than 18 to 34-year olds.
Meanwhile, the report also found a disparity between age groups regarding the value of transactions they would be comfortable making using mobile payments. Over half (55%) of adults aged under 34 would be happy making a payment in excess of £100 on their device compared to only a quarter (25%) of over 55s.
The findings suggest younger people have a greater dependency on fintech and use are more comfortable using a variety of different platforms. But the report finds that nearly one in seven (13%) 18 to 34-year old’s plan to reduce their use of technology, nearly double that of the over 55s.
Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro, said: “We are living in an increasingly digital world and when it comes to managing their money the majority of Brits are embracing the benefits of new technologies that help to make their lives easier.
“Over the past decade we have become accustomed to organising many aspects of our finances from the comfort of our home or even while we’re on the go. The speed of digital transformation means some consumers have adapted more quickly than others and preferences do vary, so it is important that the pace of change does not risk leaving people behind.
“The results of our study show that experience breeds confidence and by making it easier for people to access new technologies with the support in place to help educate them, we are likely to see levels of adoption continue to rise.
“The viability of our digital future relies on our ability to ensure this new world is inclusive, moral and – ultimately – human.”