When consumers think about how secure their bank accounts are, that can trigger a powerful emotional response to what is ultimately a matter of bank-grade security.
This topic is analyzed in Consumer Authentication Preferences for Online Banking and Transactions, a PYMNTS and Entersekt collaboration, based on a survey of close to 2,600 U.S. consumers and with a particular focus on online financial authentication preferences.
To put it succinctly, a major takeaway from this research is that consumers want more security from banks. Cross-referencing generational belonging with income levels, the study deduced that consumers are generally comfortable with the transactional authentication offered by banks and financial institutions (FIs), but there’s room for improvement.
“Overall, 83% of consumers believe that their banks are doing a good job of protecting their sensitive information and preventing unauthorized access to their accounts,” the study stated, adding that “Bridge millennials and millennials were the most likely to strongly agree that their FIs provide the highest level of security, with 42% expressing this sentiment.”
Generation X members, baby boomers and seniors came in at 36%, and Gen Z consumers were just slightly below that at 35%.
However, there was a higher level of agreement that banks and FIs can and should do more to protect accounts. Per the study, “the majority of Gen X (52%), Gen Z (57%), bridge millennial (64%), and millennial (63%) consumers all want their banks to implement additional security measures to protect their online financial transactions. For baby boomers and seniors, the share was significantly lower, at 33%, though still substantial.”
It’s in the best interest of banking customers — and, therefore, banks themselves — to review their security posture and systems, as these considerations influence how consumers feel about their banking relationships. Sensing a lack of authentication thoroughness, consumers will switch to banks and FIs that promise a safer online transaction experience.
This increasingly takes the form of biometrics, which mobile banking users trust.
We also found that “visible security measures have an outsized impact on consumers’ perceptions. Those who believe their FIs are not providing sufficient security overwhelmingly favor implementing more visible security measures, at 50%. This reflects their desire not only for greater security but also for more options that meet their authentication and security preferences.”