A new survey by iovation and Aite Group, polled nearly 1,100 consumers across four generations who use online and/or mobile banking platforms to better understand their attitudes toward various authentication mechanisms used today.
Despite being comfortable using passwords, the study found that 85% of survey respondents recognized the need to bolster online security by moving beyond this increasingly archaic method for authentication. However, due to varying comfort levels and willingness to learn new techniques, different generations expressed varying preferences around the best alternative to replace the ubiquitous password.
Passwords are simply not secure
Passwords have served as the defacto industry standard for online user identification for more than two decades, but highly skilled criminals and ever-frequent data breaches prove time and again, they are simply not secure. Despite being high-risk, usernames and passwords are still very much engrained in the fabric of online banking and commerce as the primary means of initial authentication.
“There’s no denying that passwords can no longer protect online assets the way they are meant to, the way they used to,” said Julie Conroy, Research Director for Aite Group’s Retail Banking & Payments practice and author of the report. “This impasse is prompting consumer brands to finally consider how they can realistically deliver on the vision of a future without passwords. Luckily, the increasing pervasiveness of mobile devices provides new opportunities to offer superior authentication capabilities and password alternatives that another can improve security and the overall consumer experience.”
A clear correlation emerged between consumers’ openness to change and their age as iovation surveyed millennials (35%), Gen X’ers (26%), Baby Boomers (32%) and seniors (7%). The report revealed 95 percent of millennials are open to using something other than a password, as are the majority of Gen X and Baby Boomer respondents (both 82%). And while only 16 percent of seniors are very willing to learn new authentication methods, 48 percent report that they are willing to try a different way. Each generation expressed a unique preference for a replacement to the easily hacked or forgotten password authentication method:
Millennials – As the most receptive audience to a new authentication experience, millennials perceived fingerprint biometrics (85%), eye biometrics (76%), and knowledge-based authentication questions (74%) to be the most effective identification methods.
Generation X – Following in the younger generation’s footsteps, 37 to 52 year olds cited fingerprint biometrics (75%), eye biometrics (70%), and knowledge-based authentication questions (66%) as their top choices for password replacement.
Baby Boomers – The majority of Boomers believed fingerprint biometrics (76%), eye biometrics (67%) and facial recognition (59%) to be the leading authentication practices in lieu of the typical username/password combo.
Seniors – A surprising 68% of respondents over the age of 71 were in favor of the fingerprint biometric, while 53% of seniors thought the facial recognition tool was an effective security measure.
“What this survey makes clear is that online banking customers across generations remain extremely frustrated with passwords and if provided with more modern authentication alternatives like biometrics or facial recognition, they will eagerly embrace them,” said Michael Thelander, Director of Product Management for iovation. “Consequently, a growing number of financial institutions are realizing that dynamic authentication technologies like iovation’s LaunchKey represent both a more secure, user-friendly experience to their customers.”