As more and more people move to conducting their lives online, customer demand is increasingly a key driver in how data is viewed and used. Payments UK commissioned research on attitudes to data to mark the publication of its data report, revealing some interesting results.

Eight out of ten people in Britain consider their current account balance completely private – outstripping even the number of people (72%) who feel the same about their innermost thoughts.

More than two-thirds (69%) consider their Direct Debits completely private, while almost the same proportion (67%) feel the same about their spending habits. A credit score is also considered to be highly confidential by 54% of people, although this lags behind other types of financial information.

There is broad agreement that the way data is used is changing – almost seven out of ten (68%) people surveyed agreed that ‘providing personal information is an increasing part of modern life’, while a similar number (60%) feel ‘there is no alternative than to provide personal information… for services’. However, this is matched by concern that some companies share their personal data with other companies.

The research shows that the way data is used is changing and data sharing is an increasing part of life. It also highlights the fact that people are still very cautious about sharing their personal financial information – more so than other personal information. This means that in order to fully realise the potential of data sharing, a lot more work has to be done to bring customers along on this journey.

The findings highlight the need to build customer understanding of how their data is used at a time when regulatory and legislative changes are set to transform the way we can manage our personal information. A range of new payment services are being developed to take advantage of this data revolution that will deliver real benefits for customers, ranging from smarter money management products to faster cheque clearing.