One in ten users of online financial services favor convenience over increased security controls

Authentify announced the results of a study on consumer attitudes and preferences towards security for online financial services. The survey, which was independently conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that consumers are more concerned with getting identity safeguards than financial loss reimbursement from online banks. A major secondary finding revealed that 9 out of 10 web users are willing to sacrifice convenience for stronger security protection for online accounts.

“We identified an important shift in what concerns consumers most about banking online,” said Stephen Knighten, a statistical analyst at Javelin. “These findings demonstrate that the financial services industry must go beyond zero liability protection and offer more comprehensive identity safeguards to gain the trust of consumers, especially those who have so far been reluctant to conduct financial transactions online.”

In a survey of 2,781 respondents, 58 percent of consumers reported that incurring a financial loss was not their primary concern about Internet banking. Instead, loss of personal information and privacy, and the possibility of future financial fraud in their name were the two most frequently cited worries.

When asked about their preference for convenience versus stronger security, only 10 percent of consumers said they are willing to sacrifice security for more convenience. For example, 78 percent of respondents expressed that they would like their identity to be verified using real-time authentication mechanisms in the event of questionable account activity. Of these, more than 30 percent selected interactive out-of-band phone calls or SMS text messages as their preferred means to approve or deny sensitive transactions. Only 8 percent favored traditional mechanisms that might delay a transaction until further authentication can be obtained by fraud prevention personnel or written notification.

“Based on our experience with some of the world’s leading online financial services firms, we are not surprised that users want to be involved in the protection of their financial assets,” said Peter Tapling, the president and CEO of Authentify. “It’s always a shock when you discover you’ve been robbed, either in the physical world or online. The ability to be notified and approve/deny a transaction that appears questionable puts consumers in control and provides an additional layer of security.”