Consumers far prefer multi-factor authentication to passwords

More than two-thirds of consumers would rather use multi-factor authentication (MFA) without a password than a traditional username and password, according to a new report from user experience research firm Blink and authentication provider Trusona.

The companies conducted a test with a fictitious website offering either traditional or password-less MFA login options, and found that 53 percent opted for MFA from their first session, and 17 percent more switched to it eventually.

“While consumers say they want a better experience and more security online, they often settle for what’s most familiar and easy,” said Kevin Goldman, chief design officer of Trusona. “This is the first study demonstrating that when it comes to passwords, consumers are not only saying they are ready to make a change, but will actually take the leap. The most enlightening outcome of the study is that the authentication method most consumers ultimately chose was not only more convenient – but also more secure.”

The research also found that 73 percent of those using MFA were satisfied with their login experience, versus only 52 percent of those using passwords. Further, nearly 30 percent of those using a password for the trial needed help to reset it at least once during the three-week period. The report cites an estimation by Forrester Research that the average tech support call costs $25, suggesting that password resets are potentially very costly to organizations. Password-less logins, on the other hand, were successful 99 percent of the time.

While 22 percent only tried the traditional password option at first, nearly half tried using MFA when prompted by an email, and of them 93 percent continued using it.

The split in MFA adoption by age showed that participants 55 and older were even more likely to use MFA (59 percent) than those 18 to 34 (55 percent), while 46 percent of participants aged 35 to 54 used it.

A study published by IBM earlier this year showed that people, especially millennials, tend to not only use passwords which are not complex, but also to reuse them heavily.

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