Do you share your online accounts with others? If so, you’re not alone. With so many different streaming service platforms it can be tempting to share access with family and friends to cut down on costs, but is sharing online streaming accounts really safe?

According to a new study by Country Financial, three our of four Americans share their streaming service accounts, like Netflix, Hulu and Spotify, or other online or mobile app accounts, including Amazon Prime and Uber. Entertainment services were the most widely shared with at least one other person, while younger adults were most likely to use shared services.

Photo: John Schnobrich via Unsplash

Disney is getting ready to jump into the world of streaming services next year, joining an already crowded pool of offerings including Netflix, Amazon and Hulu—which means adding yet another subscription fee to your budget. To avoid paying to watch your kids’ favorite shows, you might consider sharing an account with other family members, but is that the best idea?

On the upside sharing an account, can save you more than you might think. According to a separate survey by Waterstone Management Group, 84 percent of consumers underestimate what they spend on monthly expenses. On average people estimated that they spend $111 per month on subscription services, but the actual average is $237. Sharing accounts could significantly cut down on those costs.

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Photo: Charles DeLuvio via Unsplash

The downside to sharing, however, is safety. Along with sharing an account, comes sharing passwords, which might not seem like a big deal to do with family and close friends…but what if they decide to share the love even more and give access to others? Then your password, which you likely use for other secure accounts, isn’t exactly secure anymore.

Not to mention the fact that sharing likely violates the Terms of Service agreement, a.k.a. all that fine print that you scrolled through without reading. If you’re caught, there’s a good chance you’ll lose all access to your online account. While sharing is clearly common practice, it’s important to take safety precautions.

—Shahrzad Warkentin

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