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Brits do not trust online checks when buying a property

Three quarters (74%) of Brits do not trust property documentation to be handled safely and securely online, research from anti-money laundering company SmartSearch has found.

High street banks, ranked in order of trust in their ability to handle property documentation safely, securely and entirely online are: Handelsbanken (50%), First Direct (44%), Nationwide (32%), Halifax (30%) and HSBC (30%). People trust Atom bank the least.

John Dobson, chief executive at SmartSearch, said: “Buying a property online is very convenient, especially during the current climate where people may be worried about conducting such transactions face to face.

“However, it is a big shake up to the industry and consumers alike. The last year has forced many of us to adapt to digital or automated services, but it seems the property market has some work to do to instil confidence in their consumers.

“While online estate agents are on the rise, they need to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to communicate trust to their customers, putting the right systems in place to make the process of buying and selling property online as safe and secure as possible.

“We are certainly seeing steps being taken to achieve this, with the introduction of the new conveyancing taskforce set to tighten up procedures for customers and lawyers.”

The research revealed over half (59%) of people do not trust a mortgage application to be carried out safely and securely online either.

Surprisingly, more than two thirds (68%) of those aged 18-24 years old said they would not trust their mortgage application to be handled online, compared to 45% of those aged 35-54 years old.

However, despite an underlying lack of confidence in this process, 60% of those banking with First Direct and 50% of those banking with Nationwide said they would trust their mortgage applications to be carried out online.