Consumers trust banks most with their personal data, 68% still fear identity theft

People trust banks and other financial entities to safeguard their personal data more than other organizations.

consumers trust banks

New nCipher Security research also illustrates how easily that trust can be eroded, along with Americans’ personal data protection concerns relative to banking and digital payments.

Consumers trust banks most

The survey results show that people trust the financial sector in general and their banks in particular more than any other industry vertical or organizations that touch their data. A third of those surveyed said they trust financial services organizations most to protect their personal data. More than half (52%) said they trust their banks specifically to protect their data.

This indicates that people place much higher trust in banks and other financial institutions than they do in other business verticals and the public sector. Less than a quarter (23%) of those surveyed trust organizations in the legal profession to handle their data. And only about 20% of survey participants said they trust their cellular provider or the government to secure their personal data.

But trust can be fleeting

While the survey results indicate people have relatively high trust in banks, the research also illustrates that trust can be fleeting. It’s easy for trust to be eroded or disappear completely.

Financial institutions can retain that trust by building customer confidence that they have things under control. Part of that involves sharing relevant information with customers, so consumers feel more in control. More than a third (34%) of Americans surveyed said they trust companies that provide them with a feeling of control.

In addition, nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said they would lose trust in their bank if it didn’t seem in control of data security. And more than half (53%) said their trust in digital payments would erode if their bank didn’t notify them of a hack within 24 hours.

Digital payments are a sore point

Trust related to digital payments is a particularly thorny issue. People who have been hacked in the past are especially sensitive.

Nearly 60% of respondents to the nCipher survey said they would distrust digital payments if their account was compromised and showed charges they didn’t make. A third (33%) said such a scenario would prompt them to stop using digital payments entirely.

Trust in online retail purchases is low

Almost half (46%) of survey participants said they worry about cybersecurity the most when they buy something online. When asked what organizations they trust most to protect their personal data, the survey group ranked ecommerce from brick-and-mortar retailers lowest (6%). Even the government (20%) and cellular providers (19%) are trusted more.

When asked about their trust in individual companies, popular social media companies came in last.

Overall anxiety is high

These specific trends are part of a larger picture illustrating the public’s high anxiety related to identity theft and personal data security. The nCipher research also revealed that:

  • 68% of Americans said they fear identity theft
  • 62% said they want companies to make security more reliable
  • 38% of those surveyed said they believe a hack should be a federal offense
  • 20% of individuals said they suffer from security “fatigue” and don’t trust anyone to protect their personal information

Peter Galvin, Chief Strategy Officer at nCipher Security says: “Banks and other financial organizations are in a relatively strong position when it comes to consumer trust related to personal data privacy and security. But, as the nCipher research illustrates, people are generally on edge when it comes to protecting their personal data.

“Organizations that want to maintain the trust they’ve worked so hard to build – and those that need to win back customer confidence – must make sure they have the protection in place to safeguard customer data. That involves creating cybersecurity strategies that employ well implemented privacy-by-design mechanisms such as encryption to keep customers’ personal data safe and retain their trust.”

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