Security & biometrics on UK consumers radar, says IE survey

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Information security has become a deciding factor for more than a third (37%) of UK consumers when choosing a bank. Over a quarter (26%) aren’t totally satisfied with their banks’ security offering either, according to an online survey carried out in October by OnePoll with 2,000 UK participants, on behalf of technology vendor, Intelligent Environments (IE).

One in four of 2,000 UK consumers that took part in an online survey by OnePoll for Intelligent Environments stated that their bank could do more to protect their data from hackers and online fraudsters.

The Intelligent Environments ‘Future Password Index (FPI)’ research also revealed that almost half (45%) would like to use biometric tools to access their bank account, and nearly a third (29%) say they would be more likely to use a bank that has biometric security. This suggests it is not yet a determining factor in UK consumers’ decision about who to bank with, but the public is at least becoming aware of the technology.

Biometric adoption remains low. Fingerprinting came out on top in Intelligent Environments FPI research with 13% saying they already use it. Other forms of bank biometric authentication are even less well advanced with less than 4% saying they use some other form of biometric authentication to access their bank account.

The technology’s lack of popularity is despite several UK financial institutions (FIs) such as MasterCard, HSBC, Barclays and Atom, a new challenger digital-only bank, introducing biometric tools such as vein, voice and selfie (face) authentication technologies in recent times.

Interestingly, demand for iris scanning has surged since 2014’s initial IE FPI survey with 60% of the 2,000 participants saying they would be interested to use it against 33% just two years ago. Those interested in using more advanced fingerprint scanning biometric technology remained static at 57% v 53% two years ago, which perhaps reflects its wider market penetration and a consequent decrease in excitement about the technology.

The latest FPI survey also highlights other technologies such as facial recognition, heartbeat monitors and voice verification. Vein verification is a new addition to the survey this year, following Barclays’ so far unfulfilled announcement in late 2014 that they were planning on rolling out the technology. If it gets beyond a pilot remains to be seen.

Commenting on the survey, Clayton Locke, chief technology officer (CTO) at Intelligent Environments, said: “Given the increase in high profile cyber-attacks over the past couple of years, it’s no surprise that security is increasingly a priority for consumers. Our previous research shows that traditional PINs and passwords are no longer up to the task of keeping valuable personal and financial details safe.”

Whether biometrics becomes the acceptable replacement remains to be seen, but there is no doubt more and more banks are exploring the technology. Consumers are increasingly aware of it too and it may yet become the new access security standard for the 21st century.

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