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Consumer trust in banks is mixed. Behavioral biometrics can help, face less so

Reports from Experian, Mitek and Thales
Consumer trust in banks is mixed. Behavioral biometrics can help, face less so

A trio of surveys from Experian, Mitek and Thales indicate that deploying biometrics can help banks improve consumers’ trust in them, but also that there are limits to how many people will be won over this way, and that outside of financial services, consumer have little trust in businesses and governments.

Eighty-two percent of UK consumers trust behavioral biometrics to prevent fraud, according to a new survey by Experian.

“With fraud in the UK up 22 percent, it’s no wonder that organizations are investing heavily in diverse security technologies,” the company wrote in its 2022 UK&I Identity and Fraud Report.

More generally, the company writes that within an increasingly complex fraud landscape, application push payment (APP) fraud is a particular concern for both organizations and consumers.

“The questions they need to know are: What can they do to prevent fraud in general – and APP fraud in particular? And which technologies and solutions do consumers trust and prefer when it comes to keeping their identities and accounts safe?” Experian asked.

According to the company’s latest report, behavioral biometrics could be the answer to both these questions.

“So much so, in fact, that 91 percent of UK businesses and 89 percent of businesses in Ireland say they have a high level of confidence in behavioral biometrics when it comes to detecting and protecting against fraud,” according to the report.

Further, the new data suggests that 82 percent of UK customers (81 percent in Ireland) now trust behavioral biometrics in the fight to prevent fraud, and 55 percent of UK customers (44 percent in Ireland), say that the use of behavioral biometrics would enhance their opinion and trust in a business.

In terms of actual investments in specific anti-fraud technologies, Experian says behavioral biometrics accounted for 12 percent in the UK (17 percent in Ireland). Fifteen percent of UK businesses (20 percent in Ireland) have invested in physical biometrics, including fingerprint, facial, voice or eye scanning.

Customer trust in biometrics for banking varies by age

On the other side of the trust spectrum, a survey by Mitek and market researcher YouGov show that banking customers’ trust in biometrics and artificial intelligence remains low in the UK.

More specifically, 52 percent of UK bank customers feel that these technologies positively impact their trust in banks. Only five percent prefer entirely AI/automated interactions when engaging with banks.

Of the 2,200 adults surveyed across different age groups in the UK, only 35 percent said they felt comfortable using a mobile banking app with face biometrics for login.

The number goes up to 50 percent for ages 18 to 34 but drops to 20 percent for those 55 and older. This, according to Mitek, hints at a lack of awareness of the benefits of biometrics in securing accounts.

“It is critical to close the tech trust gap and educate people on more advanced technology like biometrics and AI to supersede outdated and vulnerable ones like passwords,” says company VP Sanjay Gupta.

Mitek also discussed the importance of biometrics to block gaps in fraud protection created by digitization in a recent interview with Biometric Update.

Thales finds consumers trust banks (relatively)

But if the UK shows an increasing trust in behavioral biometrics, which is not necessarily reflected in the banking sector, global trends are more varied.

In fact, new data from digital technology conglomerate Thales has revealed a general lack of consumer trust across industries to protect their data.

Conducted by Opinium in partnership with the University of Warwick, the survey indicates the lowest levels of consumer trust when it comes to keeping their data secure is found in social media companies (18 percent), government (14 percent), and media and entertainment organizations (12 percent).

More trust was found in banking and finance (42 percent), healthcare companies (37 percent) and consumer technology makers (32 percent). Those, obviously, are better numbers for the industry, but those also were the highest levels of trust found.

Geographically, the least-trusting consumers are in Germany (23 percent), Australia, the UK and France (20 percent) when it comes to protecting personal data and securing digital services. The most-trusting populations are in Brazil (95 percent), Mexico (92 percent) and the United Arab Emirates (91 percent).

“Consumers around the world have shown how important security is to them when it comes to digital services and their personal data,” says Philippe Vallée, Thales’ executive VP of digital identity and security.

Thales also released a separate report last week suggesting confidence in working-from-home security is increasing along with multi-factor authentication adoption.

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