Survey report: Germans’ attitudes to mobile security and authentication

Mark van Dalsen|19 September 2019
Survey report: Germans’ attitudes to mobile security and authentication

Vox pops aside, consumer polls aren’t a walk in the park. The data, though. They make the months of hurry-up-and-wait 100 percent worthwhile. They’re almost addictive. That’s why Entersekt trained its giant magnifying glass on Germany so soon after conducting a US consumer survey through The Harris Poll this year. It’s another important market for us and one that we suspected would produce a slightly different set of results in our area of focus: consumers’ attitudes towards mobile banking and mobile payments.

The German-language report of the survey is out now and it’s full of fresh insights into the human side of the Bundesrepublik’s fast-evolving mobile economy. For readers die kein Deutsch sprechen, read on below for some of the survey’s security-related findings.

In mobile banking, security is paramount

Consumers’ doubts over the security of the mobile channel have slowed adoption of app-based financial services in many countries, and our survey confirmed that this is nowhere truer than in Germany. We asked adults who do not bank on their mobile devices what holds them back. They could select more than one reason, and, for 52 percent, security is a concern – over ten times more so than problems with usability. Fifty-four percent simply say they prefer online banking and 22 percent the branch.

Reasons for not using the mobile to transact

Reasons for not using mobile

It sometimes helps to ask a question from a different angle, so we also asked participants what the most important factors would be for them if they had to choose a new bank. There is obviously more to consider here than when selecting the banking channel that works best for you, so we added “attractive conditions” as an option. Value – a quality service at a good price – is important to all but the most spendthrift of us, and, sure enough, it tied with mobile banking security as the most important selection criterion.

Priorities in choosing a bank

Priorities in choosing a bank

Other factors that have impacted uptake in comparable advanced economies are usability problems, many of which affect older people disproportionately, and limited functionality, which denies users of all ages what is arguably mobile’s biggest selling point: on-the-go convenience. We did not ask about the latter directly, but the results of our survey are crystal clear: mobile security is a much greater consideration for Germans than ease of use is. Over half of them (54 percent) name security as the prime concern, which is 12 percent more than give security and ease of use equal credit. Just two percent believe ease of use is more important than security.

Relative importance of security and ease of use

Security and ease of use

Strong customer authentication for the win

Strong customer authentication is one area where financial institutions can provide greater assurance to users of mobile services. It tangibly demonstrates that account holders are protected and are communicating with a legitimate party, whether that be the bank itself, a third-party provider requesting access to account data or funds, or a friend or family member.

Germans are more familiar with authentication as a concept than are people in the United States, for example, where digital banking security is relatively lightly regulated and banks avoid imposing security hurdles as best they can. That familiarity has not bred contempt: 94 percent report a preference for approving some or all mobile-initiated transactions before they are completed, with 68 percent wanting to approve all such transactions. One in five would prefer only to approve some transactions, such as those totaling €100 or more.

Preference for or against authentication

Preference for or against authentication

(These figures are not substantially higher than the numbers we got in the United States. What interests us most is that Germans have a much clearer understanding of the impact strong customer authentication can have on the user experience than Americans do; they nevertheless want it in large majorities.)

Reading between the lines

Mobile banking is reasonably popular in Germany, but many people continue to feel more comfortable transacting over the online channel – never mind the not insignificant number that still favors the branch. As demonstrated in this survey, safety concerns play a very large role in this, but many people assert simply that “online banking is enough for me.”

It remains unclear why this group has rejected the app, at least as a supplementary contact point in an age of omnichannel service delivery. My colleague Uwe Härtel, country manager Central Europe, asks in the preface of our report: “Are mobile banking and payments apps not attractive enough to change some old habits? How many offer experiences that can’t already be had on the desktop or at the teller?”

Our survey touched on these questions, and we’ll blog about Germans’ appetite for more convenient and innovative app-based services in about a month.

Interested in knowing more? You can also This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the survey methodology and datasets in German or English.

About the author

Mark van Dalsen

Mark van Dalsen

Marketing communications manager

Mark has been marketing fintech since the last century and remains smitten with the business and the art of building brands, especially for scrappy technology companies with big league ideas.

Subscribe to our newsletter for our latest news, press releases and events

logo entersekt

Entersekt is an international software development company based just outside of Cape Town, South Africa.

We are leaders in authentication, app security, and payments enablement technology, offering a highly scalable solution set with a track record of success across multiple continents.