Consumer Experience

Education and Communication Strategies

Security Measures and Privacy Policies

Key Finding from the Report:

Results from SYNERGISTICS 2014 study, Security and Privacy Issues in a Digital Age, found that a significant minority of Internet households have experienced some type of fraud or identity theft, an increase since 2006.

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Highlights of the Study

This study examines consumer experience with security and privacy issues related to financial accounts and services.  Consumer reaction to education and communication programs, security measures, and privacy policies is also assessed.

National Internet Survey – 992 consumers age 18 or older.

Key Dates


Spring 2016 – Project Report available.

Strategic Questions

  • How do consumers approach security and privacy on a daily basis, if at all?  Have activities such as shredding documents, monitoring balances, opting out of direct mail, and regularly changing passwords become commonplace?  Is there now more concern about financial security and privacy in comparison to two years ago?
  • Which channels for conducting banking activities are consumers most concerned about in terms of security and privacy?  What are consumers’ top concerns for online banking and bill payment?  How wide is consumers’ actual experience with online shopping fraud, identity theft, or account fraud?  Can providers implement measures or procedures that consumers will see as valuable to improve security?
  • Do the privacy policies of financial providers receive any attention from customers?  How proactive are consumers in terms of choosing how personal information is shared by their providers or in opting in or out of receiving marketing messages?  How satisfied are consumers with the security and privacy measures of their financial providers?
  • Do consumers use credit report monitoring services?  Is identity theft insurance widely used?  What providers are used for these services?  How wide is the potential for future adoption?
  • Have security and privacy concerns affected consumers’ payment card behavior?  Are they aware of the liability associated with fraudulent use of their debit or credit cards?  Do they use one particular card for online shopping?  How receptive are they to an “on/off” capability?
  • How do consumers view biometric forms of identification such as fingerprint scanners, facial recognition, or voice recognition?  Are these seen as viable for accessing a payment account at the point of sale or accessing accounts online?
  • Are security and privacy concerns generally widespread or are they heightened among certain demographic or behavioral segments?  Which segments might be more prone to adopt advanced security capabilities such as biometrics?

Research Issues

  • Keeping fraudsters at bay is becoming more difficult in the face of evolving technology, and financial institutions are constantly evaluating new ways to keep their customers’ financial information safe and secure.  Recent security breaches at retailers and other organizations have heightened consumers’ awareness and sensitivity to the possibility that their personal and financial information could be compromised.
  • In response to rising fraudulent activity, many providers have been intensifying their security tactics and exploring new techniques to safeguard consumers’ personal and financial information.  Some providers are considering biometric security measures as a replacement for traditional usernames and passwords.  Many have implemented fraud education and awareness pages on their websites to inform and educate consumers on how to protect themselves from fraudulent activity such as ATM card skimming, phishing, and ID theft.
  • Credit report monitoring, fraud alerts, and identity theft insurance are also available for consumers through various financial institutions and other agencies.  Privacy policies are important in this security-conscious environment.  Some financial institutions are seeking to improve these notices by making them more consumer friendly.  It is important for providers to gain a clear understanding of the current consumer perspective and experience with regard to security and privacy issues in order to optimize their strategies for the future. [A86]