If somebody will use their computers to bank, they will do just about anything else online. For this reason, financial transactions serve as handy barometers not only to decision-makers in those industries, but to the entire e-commerce universe.
In that context, this Bank Systems & Technology story, which features results from the TriCipher Consumer Online Banking Study conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, is significant. The bottom line is that identity protection that passes muster with consumers would greatly increase the number of people who bank online and broaden the online activities of those who already do so. This software must be offered for free, however.
While that's not surprising, the sheer numbers suggested by the survey -- which posed the questions to 3,349 U.S. adults -- is stunning. The firm says that 70 million people would change their online banking habits if the protection with which they are comfortable becomes available: Thirty-one million would start and 39 million would do more. This would translate to $8.3 billion annually in increased profitability.
There is a wealth of information in the report. For instance, 41 percent of those surveyed would switch institutions or reduce activities if their banks were hit by a data breach. Researchers found that 62 percent of customers are interested in identity protection software. Among second factor authentication options, thirty-three percent support biometrics and 20 percent like the idea of one-time password tokens.
The results of the survey scream out loud and clear to any company -- not just banks -- that are interested in e-commerce: Invest in security. It's not enough that networks and transactions are considered safe statistically. Customers must be made to feel that they are safe. Of course, any extra layer of security is a good thing. What is important to recognize is that two-factor authentication also is good marketing.