UK Fintech News: The Latest Stories 31/03

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Each week, The Fintech Times takes a look at the top stories in British fintech. As another month comes to a close in today’s roundup we look at how brits are average in cybersecurity, the contactless technology helping churchgoers and the financial terms brits find most confusing. 

Brits are only average when it comes to cybersecurity

The new research by NordVPN revealed that British cybersecurity skills and knowledge are not much better than the global average. Brits scored 65.9 points out of 100, while the world got 65.2.

The findings are based on 48,063 respondents around the world who took NordVPN’s National Privacy Test to learn their personal performance in cybersecurity. The Germans made it to the first position with 71.2 points out of 100, while the Dutch came second with 69.5, and Switzerland third with 68.9 points.

 “9 out of the 10 best-performing countries in the list of the ranked 21 are European. However, Britain is right outside the top ten,” said Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN.

The test thousands of Brits took was designed to evaluate three aspects of our digital lives, including how much people know in theory about staying private (Brits got 74 points out of 100), how they would behave if faced with an online threat in practice (84.6/100), and what habits they keep to stay private and safe (47.1/100).

Despite getting less than half of the points for their digital habits, Brits are no different from the rest of the world: the global score in that regard is exactly the same. 

New Work and Pensions Committee Report on pension savers and scams

The Work and Pensions committee has recently released a new report on pensions savers and scams. Titled ‘Protecting pension savers – five years on from the pension freedoms: Pension scams’ report, the inquiry aimed to look at how savers are prepared and protected to move from saving for retirement to using their pension savings. It calls for the government to act “quickly and decisively,” and “rethink its decision to exclude financial harms from the forthcoming Online Safety Bill.”

PIMFA, the trade association for wealth management, investment services and the investment and financial advice industry, welcomes the enhancements to consumer protections laid out in the new report.

Liz Field, PIMFA’s CEO commented: “‘In order to ensure that savers can transact safely and with confidence with their hard-earned pension savings, we are pleased that the Committee have supported our recommendation that the government should include financial harm within the Online Safety Bill.

“Savers cannot continue to be liable to lose their life savings because of what amounts to regulatory shades of grey and the government must act to both empower the Regulator, as well as place a duty of care on tech providers to undertake proper due diligence on adverts and remove harmful ads where appropriate.

“This, in partnership with the government’s forthcoming policy on financial promotions will be a welcome step in enhancing consumer protections, increasing confidence as well as reducing individual claims on the Financial Ombudsman Service and Compensation Scheme.”

Finance terms confusing brits the most

Interested in just how confident Brits are in their understanding of essential finance terminology, Uswitch.com conducted a Likert-scale survey among 3,972 Britons, asking them to what extent they understood some of the most essential financial terms. Only 4% of Britons were confident in their understandings of ‘Blended Finance’ and ‘Cornerstone investment’, making them the most confusing financial terms for Brits.

The next most confusing terms are ‘Social enterprise’ and ‘Fintech’ at 13%. ‘Bridging loan’ is in third from the bottom with only 14% of Brits confident in their understanding of the term.

However, Uswitch.com found that 78% of Britons were confident in their understanding of the term ‘Pension’, making it the least confusing financial term.

The second least confusing term is ‘Interest rates’. With 76% of Britons confident of what exactly it means, it is a reassurance that Brits understand this considering how important interest rates are for credit scores and mortgage applications.

In third place is ‘Crowdfunding’ at 73%, an innovative way to raise money for personal projects and new businesses that relies on the good natures of others.

Uswitch.com further analysed average monthly search volumes within the UK for questions relating to the definition of each financial term. The most searched for term is ‘stamp duty’, with 37,540 average monthly searches for questions relating to its meaning. Other commonly searched-for phrases include ‘what is a recession’ (6,800) ‘what is APR’ (5,700), and ‘what is cryptocurrency’ (2,400).

Churchgoers Using Contactless Technology to Support Local Churches

Data from GoodBox, a charity-focused digital giving provider showed a staggering 98% drop in income via contactless giving across the religious sector as a direct result of the first lockdown. However, as restrictions lifted, and limited numbers of the public were allowed back into services the average donation size across the religious sector more than doubled from £5.71 pre-lockdown to £13.75 as small congregations rallied to support their local churches as much as possible under tight restrictions.

The Church of England recently released figures showing a drop of £40m in donations in 2020* due to church closures, reduced congregations and loss of fees for services such as weddings. Historically many churches across the UK have relied on cash in the collection plate as a primary source for donations, but many have adapted due to COVID and now offer contactless solutions such as the GoodPlate, a religious offering plate that accepts both cash and contactless donations.

GoodBox Co-Founder & Managing Director Francesca Hodgson said: “The huge increase in donations after the first lockdown really illustrates the incredible resilience of the UK public and I am sure this will be reflected again during the Easter weekend. It is clear that congregations have a renewed desire to support their communities and offer a hand when needed. While these may be just numbers, they tell the underlying story of the generous British public and a willingness to help out those who need it.

As an increasing number of donors don’t carry cash, a contactless donation point is fast becoming an essential part of religious donations which is why we have tailored our solutions and developed the GoodPlate, a religious offering plate that accepts both cash and contactless donations.”

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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