Bank identity checks could push close to a quarter to competitors, survey finds

A survey by FICO has found almost a quarter of UK-based respondents would move to a competitor if asked to visit branches or post documents when applying for an account.

The survey – titled United Kingdom Consumer Survey 2021 – Identity Proofing and Digital Banking – sought to understand the impact of identity checking on customer experience and what customers would do about it.

According to FICO, 23% of respondents would move to a competitor if asked to visit a branch of post documents as part of applying for a financial account. Meanwhile, 31% would either give up completely or also move to a competitor. Just over half (52%) of respondents would complete the process as soon as possible.

 The survey also identified a slight averseness among customers to scan documents, email their branch or use an identity portal, with 17% claiming to have gone to a competitor if asked to do so with 8% quitting the process.

FICO found millennials were the least tolerant to the challenges caused by the identity-checking process, with 42% of respondents saying they would abandon the process if mandated to mail documents or visit a branch. 35% of millennials would leave the application if required to scan and email documents or use a separate identity portal.

However, an area of growing popularity is identity checks in biometrics. The survey found that only a small percentage of respondents believed that banks should never hold biometric data – highlighting that most people are open to the idea.

FICO discovered that 38% of those surveyed were happy for banks to capture biometric data if they were to explain why, while 28% were comfortable with banks saving biometrics and 13% said they would provide the data but were not happy about doing so. Meanwhile, another 13% stated they would never provide biometrics to banks or any other financial organisations.

Amongst age ranges, older age groups were found to be more likely to say banks should not capture biometrics to protect accounts – with 17% of over 65s holding this opinion. In contrast, only 5% of 18–24-year-olds believed the same thing.

When respondents were asked to select organisations they believed already held their biometric data, 17% thought they had given biometric information to their phone providers, while 10% identified social media platforms.

FICO VP for fraud in EMEA Matt Cox said, “Our data shows intuitive but flexible customer journeys are required. Some people are happy to provide selfies, others want to scan documents. What individuals can do – or can be encouraged to do – is personal. This makes intuitive apps and education crucial if financial services providers are to be successful at new customer acquisition.

“Consumers are familiar and comfortable with using their fingerprints to unlock their phones, for example, but do not consider this to be providing biometric data. Using biometrics from a mobile to unlock financial accounts can mean analysis of the biometric takes place at the bank, but customers already familiar with the process might not perceive it as such. Confusion surrounding biometrics is understandable but must be addressed by financial service providers that wish to use this type of data.”

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