One in Four Germans Pay With A Smart Device – eco Provides Security Tips

  • Number of mobile payment users doubled in the last four years
  • Almost all (90.8 per cent) use security measures on their smartphone
  • eco Association gives 7 tips for secure mobile payment

In the supermarket, restaurant or at the bakery: one in four people hold their smartphone or smartwatch against the card reader to pay. These are the results of a representative survey of 2,514 Germans on mobile payment conducted by the opinion research institute Civey on behalf of eco – Association of the Internet Industry. As a rule, mobile payment is possible everywhere where payment can be made by card. Some 22.5 per cent of Germans use it at least occasionally. As many as 8.9 per cent pay by smartphone or smartwatch several times a week, 6 per cent less than once a month. And 76.8 per cent say they do not use mobile payment at all. This means that the number of mobile payment users has doubled in the last four years. In a comparable representative Civey survey in February 2019, only 11.8 per cent of Germans said they paid with their smartphone.

The vast majority also pay attention to security measures. For example, 60.4 per cent have activated a screen lock that is released by fingerprint or PIN code before payment. At 71.6 per cent, three out of four Germans regularly update the operating system and apps. 45.4 per cent only download apps from official stores such as the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Using mobile payment securely

“Mobile payment is becoming increasingly popular, as it is one of the most convenient and secure payment methods of all,” says Markus Schaffrin, eco security expert and business unit head of member services. “Authentication is necessary before every payment transaction, for example by means of fingerprint, facial recognition or PIN. This way, only the owner or holder of the device can initiate the transaction.”

Nevertheless, Schaffrin strongly recommends considering the following security measures to pay securely with your smartphone or smartwatch:

  1. Set up regular updates so that all security updates are always carried out to resolve any vulnerabilities.
  2. Set up a screen lock on your mobile devices, if possible with a biometric method such as facial recognition or fingerprint. An unlock code is also possible, but it should not be easy to guess and must not be shared with anyone.
  3. Activate the location detection of your device in advance – “Where is?” for iOS or the “Location detection” function for Android. This way, if your smartphone or smartwatch is stolen or lost, it can be located, locked and all data on it deleted.
  4. If you want to reinstall a payment app, only download it from trustworthy sources – such as the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
  5. Do not download payment apps via public WiFi networks, as this makes it easy for cybercriminals to intercept sensitive data. Alternatively, use the mobile network or a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in public WiFi networks.
  6. Only add cards to the virtual wallet on your mobile phone that you really need in everyday life in order to minimise the risk in the event of loss of the device.
  7. If you lose your smartphone or if it is stolen, deactivate the payment method stored in the payment wallet.
    In Germany, you can call the central blocking emergency number 116116 to block a lost or stolen payment card. You can find a list of cooperating banks and digital ID providers here.

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* The opinion research company Civey surveyed 2,514 people in Germany over the age of 18 between 24.07.-25.07.2023 on behalf of eco. The statistical error of the overall results is 3.3 per cent.

Mobile payment is also the topic of the latest episode of the German-language eco podcast “Das Ohr am Netz“ with Sidonie Krug and Sven Oswald.

22.5% of Germans pay with their smartphone or smartwatch
22.5% of Germans pay with their smartphone or smartwatch