Cash free payment phobia more common in the UK than fear of spiders

Over a quarter (26%) of Brits are ‘paynuphobes’ - people who avoid using modern payment methods because of security concerns - according to research released today by the Payments Council.

The research, carried out by the Payments Council’s consumer education campaign, found that two thirds of Brits admit to suffering from at least one phobia. Fear of heights topped the list, with a quarter of people suffering from arachnophobia or fear of spiders.

The research also found that 1 in 7 people surveyed felt that their fear of technology was holding their life back, with 1 in 10 actively avoiding online banking due to their fears. Paynuphobia also costs sufferers time and money: 22% of sufferers confessed to wasting time queuing to check a balance, and 14% had incurred late payment fees because they couldn’t get to a bank in time to make a payment, which could easily have been made online.

In order to address this problem, the Payments Council has enlisted the help of clinical hypnotherapist Dominic Knight, who said:

“The only thing that really holds you back from being where you want to be in life is fear. It arises when you assume, unrealistically, that you are about to experience more loss than gain. You create some imaginary scenario in your head and develop negative thoughts around it that may be untrue.”

Another strategy the Payments Council to allay fears is to explain to consumers how the new technology works, how they can protect themselves and what they can do if something does go wrong. They are highlighting how banks use advanced measures such as website encryption, timed log outs and deactivation of login details after incorrect attempts, to put customer security first.

Adrian Kamellard, Chief Executive of the Payments Council, said:

“Many of us have phobias, but no one needs to be scared of trying online banking, contactless cards or mobile. Taking control of a fear - whether it is a fear of internet banking or heights - can help you improve your quality of life by saving money, time or introducing a new experience.”

However, the UK Card Association (CA) reported a 12% increase in online banking fraud, although this was largely put down to "deception" fraud for example a rise in fake websites tricking consumers into passing on their login details. While this may be the case, many consumers suffering at the hands of fraudsters may be eligible for compensation, the UK CA said that:

"Recent industry data found that 97% of all claims resulted in a full refund of losses to the customer, a figure which was confirmed by recent research published by Which? magazine which put the figure receiving refunds at 98%.