New Study: Almost Half Of Consumers ‘Very’ Or ‘Extremely’ Concerned With Putting Personal Information Online

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Data powers the best digital customer experiences, which everyone now demands. People also demand that companies do everything but wear blindfolds in order to use their data.

It’s a poser, all right, and one that requires solving in double-quick time, as the connected economy and platform commerce have no patience for this kind of confusion.

That’s the focus of “The Privacy Paradox: Securing Data to Build Customer Engagement,” a PYMNTS and Very Good Security collaboration, which surveyed nearly 2,260 U.S. consumers about personally identifiable information (PII) data and its role in customer engagement.

See also: The Privacy Paradox: Securing Data to Build Customer Engagement

Storage of credentials is a bigger deal than it’s ever been, as the study found that “over the past 12 months, large shares of consumer respondents increased their use of platforms that manage cryptocurrency transactions (71 percent), telemedicine services (60 percent), retail delivery (60 percent), restaurant delivery aggregators (59) and online brokerage accounts (55 percent).”

Respondents fear data misuse, with generational differences playing a part, as always.

“Researchers found that nearly all consumers exhibit some concern about the security of their PII online, with 81 percent at least ‘somewhat’ concerned about providing PII to access online accounts and 49 percent ‘very’ or ‘extremely concerned,” per the study.

Specific Fears and Fearsome Reactions

Requiring PII on various platforms is as likely to lead to abandonment as it is to lead to conversion. Much depends on how secure consumers feel their data is being kept by these players.

As The Privacy Paradox notes, “concerns about PII are often focused on platform breaches that can lead to data theft or unauthorized data access by criminals or other parties. Our data revealed the extent of Americans’ fears over data theft: An aggregated 45 percent of consumers said they are afraid to share their PII, either because they are worried about someone accessing their accounts (18 percent) or the personal information stored in them (27 percent).”

In fact, over half (55 percent) of consumers who don’t leave PII with merchants still fret.

Learn more: The Privacy Paradox: Securing Data to Build Customer Engagement

Not surprisingly, protection is the only defense. PYMNTS found that 57 percent of consumers “would be highly likely to switch to another online platform if they became concerned about a provider sharing or not protecting their PII.”

Moreover, 65 percent of consumers said they would be very likely to abandon a transaction or an onboarding process “if they felt concerned about the security of their personal information.”

See also: Bank Customers Are More Trusting When FIs Use ‘Zero Data’ Approach

A Decisive Moment for Platforms

Showing the true reach of PII fears in an increasingly digital-first world, The Privacy Paradox found that “security of PII matters to 94 percent of consumers, and four out of 10 are now more worried about the data security practices of merchants than they were a year ago.”

Certain concerns are quite specific, like fraudsters grabbing personal data to open new accounts in their names (11 percent), or simply stealing one’s money (12 percent).

It’s a decisive moment for platforms. As the study states, “platforms may exude trustworthiness by actively promoting their commitment to data security. Our data revealed that 62 percent of consumers are at least ‘somewhat’ likely to provide PII if online platforms assure them that their data will be protected and not shared.”

That puts the PII security burden clearly on the platform operators. It’s their move now.

See also: The Privacy Paradox: Securing Data to Build Customer Engagement