Using the health belief model to explore users’ perceptions of ‘being safe and secure’ in the world of technology mediated financial transactions

Fraudulent transactions occurring via the Internet or Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) present a considerable problem for financial institutions and consumers alike. Whilst a number of technological improvements have helped reduce the likelihood of security breaches, users themselves have an integral role to play in reducing technology mediated fraud. This paper focuses on the role of the user, specifically capturing information about their perceptions and behaviour when using technology to complete financial transactions. Semi-structured interviews with twenty-nine participants were conducted to increase knowledge and understanding in this domain. The findings are guided by the components of the Health Belief Model (HBM) which is used as a framework for exploring critical issues associated with behavioural change. Results indicate that users typically felt safe and secure whilst conducting financial transactions online and at the ATM. The users’ perceived level of threat was low mainly because they thought it unlikely that they would be a victim of fraud and because of a reduced sense of responsibility for any negative outcomes. Whilst users were aware at a superficial level of what fraudulent activities take place they were less sure about behaviours designed to counteract fraud and their potential efficacy. Furthermore, security concerns among ATM users were not as high as concerns among Internet users with Internet users appearing to take more individual responsibility for their more personal technologies in more private spaces. The paper concludes with some practical implications based around the HBM suggesting user focused ways forward for encouraging secure behaviour.