By  on July 22, 2014

Consumers aren’t thrilled about the way retailers are protecting their data.

According to a survey by Aite Group and ACI Universal Payments, 58 percent of consumers surveyed in the first quarter felt that financial institutions do a better job at protecting data than retailers or restaurants, large chain stores or even government agencies and law enforcement.

The survey involved responses from 6,159 consumers in 20 countries seeking their concerns about various types of financial fraud.

About 29 percent of global consumers do not trust stores to protect stored personal and financial information against hacking attempts and data breaches. Thirty-two percent said theft by a computer hacker is the greatest fraud risk.

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The study also asked about prepaid cards. Countries where prepaid cards are used the most — such as India and China — report higher rates of experience with fraud issues. According to Michael Grillo, senior product marketing manager for ACI, who led the survey, use of prepaid cards includes shopping activity as well as use for reimbursement for health care, for example. The definition of prepaid in the survey did not include gift cards.

As for what consumers did like, 77 percent said they are “very interested” in being contacted about suspicious activity on their cards or accounts via a phone call, e-mail or text message. In addition, 73 percent said they preferred that their bank not post transactions to their card until they respond to a fraud alert.

According to Grillo, consumers in the survey were more comfortable with shopping online than they were shopping in a store and handing over their credit-card information. “While the recent data breaches haven’t helped, the numbers tell us there is a higher percentage of people who feel safer shopping online,” he said.

He noted one possible discrepancy, particularly when looking at how pervasive it has become for some consumers to use a mobile device for payment: “We also found in the first part of the survey that 20 percent of global card holders on average left their smartphone unlocked. One out of every five could have that phone taken away. Why do many consumers feel their mobile phone is safe so they don’t need to lock it down? You wouldn’t leave a purse or wallet unattended on a table. The smartphone [in many cases] contains the same confidential information.”

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