PARIS: Financial services providers must adopt a nuanced approach when utilising social media in France, reflecting the mixed views of consumers about this activity.

FEVAD, the ecommerce industry body, and Médiamétrie, the research firm, polled 2,888 people online to gauge changing habits in categories such as banking, loans and insurance.

It found 7% of Facebook users had “liked” a financial services brand or company, while 14% of Twitter members were their “fans”.

However, 60% of internet users felt uncomfortable to find these operators were present on social media, a total declining to 49% among 15-24 year olds.

Similarly, while only 32% of respondents agreed that these firms gained a “more modern image” by pursuing such a strategy, figures here hit 49% for individuals under 24 years of age.

"Financial institutions are still in search of credibility and legitimacy on social networks,” Bertrand Krug, of Médiamétrie, said.

More broadly, 77% of contributors now manage their existing financial products and services on the web, up by two percentage points on an annual basis.

The main activities undertaken via this route include balance and transaction inquiries on 70%, checking savings on 63%, making transfers between two personal accounts on 64%, and transferring money externally on 46%.

Over a third of participants had also looked up information on banks and insurance companies on the net during the last six months, with comparing products and saving time the primary reasons for doing so.

Elsewhere, 45% of mobile internet users had accessed sites or apps related to the financial services sector in the last six months.

A further 17% of interviewees would be willing to hold an account with an online-only bank, up from 14% last year, with lower charges, better rates and enhanced flexibility among the attractions.

"The willingness of internet users to entrust their money to online providers reflects their interest in the services offered, and their confidence in the internet," said Marc Lolivier, of FEVAD.

Data sourced from Médiamétrie; additional content by Warc staff