The UK is the most anxious country about online transactions in the European Union, research has found.
More than half people in the UK (56 percent) are apprehensive about buying goods online, according to a European Commission-funded survey (PDF).
In the UK, 21 percent of people said they had reduced the amount of online banking they do due to security fears. Meanwhile, 16 percent of UK citizens said they had changed their shopping habits and cut down online transactions as a result of nervousness about internet buying.
"While ever more people are making the most out of the internet and benefit from the digital economy, it is not surprising that security of personal information and online payments top the list of our concerns," home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmström said on Monday.
The safety of UK online payments is fairly robust, according to trade body the UK Payments Association (UKPA).
"The vast majority of online businesses are honest and legitimate and comply with their obligations to carefully protect and securely dispose of cardholder information," UKPA said on its website. "The reality is that most internet card fraud involves a criminal obtaining genuine card details in the real world that are then used to shop online."
The survey, conducted by Eurobarometer, found that UK citizens are ill at ease about identity theft, with 43 percent saying they are concerned about cybercriminals misusing their personal data.
People in Germany are the most concerned about identity theft, with 59 percent worried about misuse of personal data.
Despite these concerns, people are unlikely to use technical measures to reduce their fears — for example, only 49 percent of UK citizens have installed antivirus software.
The UK's stance is echoed across Europe: "What is... surprising is that only half of Europeans take effective measures to protect themselves from cybercrime," said Malmström.
Only 16 percent of people in the whole of Europe, and 21 percent in the UK, have changed settings in browsers and in online social media to improve security, the survey said.