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Nearly Half of Consumers Worldwide Willing to Switch Banks for More Security

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Nearly Half of Consumers Worldwide Willing to Switch Banks for More Security

Banks Need Visibility into Full Impact of ID Fraud as Global Apprehension Mounts; U.S. Leads in Victims but Latin Americans More Worried

Forty-five% of consumers worldwide are willing to switch to financial institutions that offer more security protection, according to new research from Unisys Corporation that polled more than 8,000 people around the world on identity fraud and bank security issues.

The research, which may be the first-ever worldwide study on identity fraud, examined consumer views in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Hong Kong . Results also found that a majority (66%) of people worldwide worry about the fraudulent use of their bank and credit card accounts.

"Banks focus a lot on risk mitigation and physical security but often overlook how to make their customers feel secure," said Dominick Cavuoto, corporate vice president and president of the Global Financial Services practice at Unisys. "Our research shows people are very worried. What's more, they're willing to switch banks. Financial institutions worldwide must pay more attention to these mounting consumer concerns, and look hard at the full impact on their brand... not just consider the monetary impact of fraud. Banks that don't have this complete visibility into the problems of ID fraud risk losing a lot more than a customer's identity."

Key Findings

Other key findings of the worldwide Unisys study include:

  • The U.S leads in ID fraud instances (17% of U.S. consumers cite they have been victims) followed by the U.K. (11%), Brazil (9%), Mexico (8%), France (8%), Australia (7%), Germany (3%) and Hong Kong (1%).
  • More Latin Americans (78% in Mexico and 70% in Brazil ) worry "a lot" about the fraudulent use of their bank accounts or credit cards, compared to 23% of those in the United States . More people in Germany (17%) worry "a lot" than do those in France or the United Kingdom (both 9%).
  • More than one-third of worldwide consumers are willing to pay additional bank fees for better security protection.
  • Loss of money is the leading concern associated with ID fraud but time and effort to fix the problem also ranks high. While 27% of consumers in the countries surveyed are understandably most concerned about the theft of their funds, a surprising 16% cited the aggravation in rectifying the problem (and in the United States 25% cite time and effort as a top concern).
  • One-third of consumers report receiving information from their banks about "phishing" (email fraud attacks that mimic bank sites). At the same time, 52% worldwide say they would like to receive more information from the financial institution about security and fraud protection.
  • Biometrics (e.g., iris or fingerprint scans) is the preferred method cited by consumers to fight fraud and identity theft as followed by smart cards, tokens, and more passwords.

"Consumers feel biometrics, smart cards and security tokens would help mitigate risk but it's equally clear there is a lack of communication about fraud prevention," Cavuoto said. "To secure their business operations, banks need to build better relationships with their customers and partner together to combat ID fraud. Financial institutions need a holistic plan with visibility beyond the latest IT tools. They need to not only install leading security technology but also must implement business processes to better communicate ID fraud prevention tips with customers."

"Our research validates that ID fraud is a growing concern around the world but what is equally important to remember is that ID criminals themselves operate in a global economy, conducting business without boundaries where they trade data and tricks across the Internet," Cavuoto continued. "Financial institutions need to invest in proven solutions to secure their business operations and employ better data safeguards across their organizations, providing a fraud prevention 'ecosystem' that can quickly analyze patterns and help deter global fraud attacks. Competition among banks also will begin tightening around ID fraud issues as the prospect of losing customers and revenue becomes more evident."

About the research

Telephone surveys were conducted on behalf of Unisys among households in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Mexico and the United States between July 29 and August 22, 2005, and among U.K. households from June 17-19, 2005. Of the 8,339 men and women aged 18 to 65 who were surveyed, 6,492 qualified for the identity fraud questions on the basis of having an account or credit card with a bank or other financial institution. The omnibus survey data are weighted to provide nationally representative and projectable estimates of the populations, and balanced by key demographics such as age, sex, region and education.

The findings are not a total surprise. Earlier in 2005 Compliance and Privacy headlined ID Theft as a major issue hamstringing eCommerce [Also in related articles: "New study finds...."]

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