FICO Survey: 1 in 11 Australian Consumers Suspect Their Identity Was Stolen, 1 in 10 Knows It Was

FICO survey shows a growing acceptance of security measures as online account opening surges 

SYDNEY, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — FICO’s identity proofing and digital banking survey shows identity theft is a tangible threat for people in Australia10 percent said they know their identity has been stolen and used by a fraudster to open an account, while a further 9 percent believe it is likely to have happened.

Consumer Survey Australia: Why do financial institutions need to check your identity? (PRNewsFoto/FICO)
Consumer Survey Australia: Why do financial institutions need to check your identity? (PRNewsFoto/FICO)

The acknowledged level of risk from identity theft means there is a good understanding of why identity proofing is an integral part of the banking experience in Australia.

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Understanding the need for ID proofing

Over two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents recognized that identity proofing happens for their protection. Most people are not cynical about the reasons their identity is confirmed. While 49 percent recognize there is an element of regulation driving providers to carry out more checks, only 15 percent think this is done to enable financial institutions to sell more.

A majority (61 percent) of Australian respondents did see identity proofing as a way for banks to protect themselves, while 46 percent regard it as a tool to prevent money laundering.

Most Australians are open to providing their bank with a biometric such as a facial scan, fingerprint, or voiceprint to secure their accounts. The survey revealed that 23 percent are happy to provide this while a further 35 percent will do it once they understand why it’s necessary. 19 percent say that banks should never capture biometrics, while just 13 percent are willing but unhappy to provide them.

Australia is a country that has twice rejected proposals for a universal identity card as a privacy concern,” said Subhashish Bose, lead for fraud, security and compliance in Asia Pacific. “So, it probably isn’t surprising that hesitancy and concern around biometrics remains higher with older Australians. For example, in the 55-64 age group the survey showed that 27 percent believe a bank should never capture a biometric.  By contrast, just 11 percent of 18–24-year-olds felt this way showing acceptance is generational.”

Australia is embracing digital banking…branch visits are fading

In Australia, 55 percent of consumers prefer to open bank accounts digitally while 29 percent prefer branches. However, over the last year, thanks to the pandemic, 30 percent of Australians are more likely to open an account digitally than a year ago; while those who attend branches often do so for perceived operational benefits.

“A concentration of banking services exists in Australia with four main players offering digital account opening,” said Bose. “This has meant it has become both pervasive and a service that many Australians have started using over the last few years. For those who prefer to go to a branch there is usually a need for more detailed information or a perception that it is more secure.”

A strong preference towards mobile banking apps by younger Australians means that this channel is essential for financial institutions looking to grow their share of the demographic. Banks who adopt successful multichannel strategies can adapt to this growing shift online.

Don’t ask me to jump through hoops

Australians who open an account digitally, prefer to carry out the process entirely in their chosen channel whether it be smartphone or website. If customers are asked to move out of channel to prove their identities, many of them will abandon the application, either giving up on opening an account completely (10%) or by going to a competitor (13 to 18%). Of those who don’t immediately abandon, up to an additional 18 percent will delay the process.

The survey found that any disruption matters. Asking people to scan and email documents or use a separate identity portal causes almost as much application abandonment as asking them to visit branches or mail in documents.

This survey was conducted in January 2021 by an independent research company adhering to research industry standards. 1,000 Australian adults were surveyed, along with 13,000 consumers in the USA, UK, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

FICO (NYSE: FICO) will discuss the results in a session at its free virtual event Success Realized: Digital Transformation Delivered (APAC), which runs April 27-29, 2021.

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