More and more Americans are resigned to the idea that total financial data and personal information security is less likely to come from the institutions charged with protecting them. And almost half believe their data is less secure than it was 5 years ago.

On the other hand, most Americans admit they aren’t exactly adhering to the good personal and financial data security practices that have been recommended to them. In fact, only 12% of those surveyed said they regularly change their passwords and close to 40% say they have shared their password with a friend or family member.

An even bigger no-no in the security world is using public Wi-Fi consistently. Well, the study indicated that about 20% of those who responded said they have gone online using a public Wi-Fi network to shop or access banking information and 54% admit to using public Wi-Fi consistently.

Worse yet, the Pew Research Center’s recently released paper indicated that apathy may be setting in with Americans, as close to 60% said the thought of being hacked doesn’t seem to cause much anxiety.

Overall, 64% of adults have had their data compromised in some way with 41% saying that they have seen fraudulent charges on their credit cards. And 16% said their email and 13% said their social media account has been hacked, 15% have had their social security card compromised and 6% of respondents said someone has impersonated them to file fraudulent tax returns.

The study indicated that when it comes to the federal government, 28% percent said they are “not at all confident” that their personal information is or will be secure. And 24% had the same response when it came to social media sites.

Perhaps even more troubling, 70% of respondents said they thought it was at least probable that the United States government will experience a large-scale security cyberattack on its public infrastructure in the next five years. A similar number of people said they expect the same type of attack on the banking and financing industry.

So, what does this mean?

It means, as a merchant, differentiating yourself from competitors can be as simple as putting an emphasis on payment security at your place of business or in your e-commerce platforms and ensuring your customers are aware of that commitment.

If you’re ready to make that commitment, contact a National Merchants Association representative today at (866) 509-7199.