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Digital confidence levels and usages among the French: Results of the 1st edition of the BNP Paribas Digital Survey, in conjunction with CSA Research

Technological innovations, with mobile devices to the fore, have radically changed our habits. So, between freedom of action and prudence, where can we place the digital activity and usages of French people today? Given that over 20% of all BNP Paribas customers go on to the Group’s websites and digital platforms every day, and in more than half of all cases on their mobile phones, the Bank can serve as a listening-post for tracking the major changes in behaviour taking place among the French. Accordingly, the Bank has carried out, in conjunction with CSA Research, a BNP Paribas Digital Survey, which provides an overall picture of the practices and levels of trust in France regarding digital usage. 

The survey was conducted in France between 20 September and 4 October this year among a representative sample of 1,008 French people, 15 years of age and over, plus a sample of 502 self-employed people, including artisans, traders, small business owners and heads of companies with under 10 employees. The results reveal four salient points:

  • Digital activity occupies over a quarter of the day

The average French citizen spends six and a half hours per day on the Internet. This revolution in daily habits is driven by the surge in use of smartphones, today the no.1 terminal for accessing the Internet. Some 81% of the population is equipped with a smartphone, a figure which rises to 90% for the under-25 age group, whose members spend up to four hours per day on their device.

  • Risk-awareness is not putting a stop to practices that expose users to risk

Some 73% of those polled believe that risk levels on the Internet are higher than they were 10 years ago.  However, 52% admit to having revealed personal data (contact details or bank account information) online, even though the majority believe that this is a risky thing to do. In fact, 61% of respondents think it is risky to type in their personal data and 50% that they are taking a risk when they enter their bank details in order to make a payment. This paradoxical attitude is also to be found among ‘digital natives’, more of whom despite being particularly familiar with the codes and practices of the digital era –do not bother to read the conditions of use (79% versus 68%), do not delete their browsing history (69% versus 59%), browse without checking that the site format is HTTPS (67% versus 47%) or use the same password for different accounts (62% versus 48%).

  • Reactions to online attacks generally limited and short-term

Some 16% of the French people surveyed by BNP Paribas/CSA Research are aware that they have suffered online piracy during the last 12 months, in the form of information or content theft (41%), extortion (37%) or identity theft (26%). Only 27% of these (33% among small businesspeople) actually contacted the police and just 39% sought a long-term solution by purchasing antivirus software. The most common reaction (reported by 78% of those who had been thus attacked) was to de-activate or entirely cancel the account that had been pirated.

  • French people trust banks as their no.1 partner in protecting their data on the Internet

A majority of respondents expressed a desire for assistance in securing their bank data (61%) and their transactions (59%). On the whole, when it comes to protecting their data on the Internet, they place their greatest trust in banks. Fully 77% of the survey respondents mentioned the bank as their most trusted partner to help them protect their banking data and 63% said the same for their personal details in the wider sense. This trust and confidence is reflected in actual behaviour: checking bank accounts online is the most frequent activity on the Internet, carried out by 77% of the respondents. 

BNP Paribas is determined to provide assistance to its customers so as to enable them to enjoy the digital experience to the full, in a simple, straightforward and totally secure manner.

Raphaele Leroy, Head of Customer Relations at BNP Paribas, underlined: “Digital tools, especially mobile phone-based tools, are nowadays a central part of banking relations. It’s absolutely essential that we respond optimally to the new habits of our customers and ensure maximum security for their banking operations. The survey that we launched this year has strengthened our conviction that we can achieve the right balance only by supporting browsing freedom with strong security mechanisms. All our new offerings are designed with simple, straightforward mastery of the tools in mind.”

 The BNP Paribas approach is based on:

  • Secure services: using an electronic signature or digital key, an innovative identity authentication and transaction security solution based on mobile device recognition.

  • Making daily life easier for customers: e.g. Wa!, a ground-breaking connected commerce solution, announced in partnership with the Carrefour retail chain in May, which combines a secure, multiservice, mobile phone-based payment method with loyalty and couponing facilities.

  • Training company staff and educating the general user: workshops for both individual customers and business users at BNP Paribas branches – such as those scheduled for 25 and 26 November – to encourage the right reflexes in terms of data protection. For the last two years, two Data Security workshops for company clients have been held annually at each of the Bank’s 28 Business Centres. Given that digital mechanisms are often quite complex –  the Survey shows that 56% of all Cloud users do not, for example, know where their data are actually being stored – such assistance is highly valuable. 

  • Confidentiality: Paylib, a secure service for settling up for online purchases; and a secure bank transaction tool for businesses designed to ensure that bank transfers are made only in authorised countries, for which a contactless version is scheduled by end-2016.
  • Vigilance: a 24-7 monitoring system designed to alert the client whenever abnormal activity is detected – a major need given that the Survey reveals that 48% of French citizens are most concerned about cybersecurity when entering their bank account details.

“BNP Paribas aims to understand and anticipate changes in the habits and expectations of our customers, to support them going forward by innovating and simplifying procedures and, not least, by helping to spread a digital culture. We’re determined to offer our customers the very best digital solutions while guaranteeing the security and integrity of their banking operations,” stressed Marc Campi, Head of Online Banking at BNP Paribas.

For BNP Paribas, being a digital solutions provider also involves offering a more personalised service, i.e. a 100% digital relationship for those who so wish; digital and remote services with access to online advisors for others; or a more traditional relationship for those customers who prefer to make full use of in-branch advisors and services. The key to a successful banking relationship lies in the quality and smoothness of the Customer Journey.

About BNP Paribas’ French Retail Banking (FRB) business

The Group’s retail-banking business in France employs over 28,000 employees and serves 6.9 million individual customers, 560,000 self-employed professionals and VSEs (Very Small Enterprises), 31,000 companies (SMEs, mid-sized and large corporates), and 73,000 non-profit organisations. FRB is the market leader in France in corporate and private banking. With an organisation based on specialised client categories and designed to ensure optimal service, FRB offers a broad range of products and services from current accounts to sophisticated financing for companies and wealth-management solutions. FRB teams work in over 2,000 branches and 300 specialised hubs which include Wealth Management Centres, SME Centres, Innovation Hubs and Business Centres. The teams are deeply committed to meeting the needs of clients and to serving the wider economy. FRB also has a substantial presence on the social networks, notably Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. BNP Paribas makes considerable ongoing investments in innovation and service quality, and in May 2013 launched Hello bank!, the first digital-native bank in Europe designed for mobile devices. This new customer channel complements FRB's suite of online-banking solutions that include Customer Contact Centres, internet and mobile banking, Net Agence (online branch), Net Crédit (online loans), Net Epargne (online savings & investments) plus 6,000 ATMs available for the convenience of both individual and professional clients throughout France.