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There has been a significant surge in financial frauds during the pandemic, with consumers increasingly using online options when making transactions, according to a report by fintech company FIS.

FIS surveyed over 2,000 Indian consumers in both June 2020 and April 2021 to look at how the pandemic has affected consumers’ finances. The report found that the pandemic has forced consumers to shift from cash and cheques towards digital payments.

The report noted that consumers have become more vulnerable to cyber fraudsters, with 34% of participants reporting financial fraud over the past 12 months. This figure rises to 41% for those in the age group of 25-29 years. The financial frauds, the survey found, were mostly through phishing, followed by QR code/UPI scams, but consumers were also victims of card scams and skimming.

That apart, about 68% of consumers are using apps for making payments, while 94% of those in the age group of 18-24 years own mobile wallets. "Buy Now, Pay Later" (BNPL) apps have gained significant popularity during the pandemic, especially among younger generations, it said, adding that on an average, 32% of consumers own a BNPL app, and most often consumers use Amazon or Flipkart’s BNPL option.

Bharat Panchal, chief risk officer for FIS said that the pandemic has led India to a new phase of digital payments adoption.

“To be successful, it’s vital that the banking sector provides technology-centric strategies which meet the diverse preferences of consumers’ rapidly changing habits, while also driving financial inclusion for underserved communities around the country," said Panchal.

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