Experian recently conducted a survey of 9,000 consumers between 18 and 70 about their online security preferences. Respondents were from across the globe. As more consumers learned to shop and bank online, they soon discovered how vulnerable their information is. This is evident in Experian's report, which is titled "Global Identity and Fraud Report" and released on April 17.
Since 2017, passwords have been a consumer favorite, ranking among the top three security methods that make consumers feel most secure. However, passwords fell out of favor in Experian's most recent report. Physical and behavior-based security methods now replace passwords among the top picks.
For 2021, the top security methods are biometrics (i.e., facial recognition and fingerprints), PIN codes sent to the consumer's mobile phone (i.e., two-factor authentication or 2FA), and behavioral analytics. Among the least secure methods were usernames, providing personal information, and social media accounts.
Now that more of a consumer's life is online and they are constantly logging into accounts with different security levels, protecting their information has become a priority. Whether backed by solid data or going from anecdotal data, consumers have started to shun the once-mighty password.
Two things have converged to accelerate the password's inevitable demise: First is the move to doing everyone online. Specific to banking, 33% of consumers were banking online before COVID. In 2021, that number has jumped to 38% among adults over 40. Second is the acceleration of technological innovation in the security space coupled with the widespread use of mobile phones. Authentication through biometrics is now common, usurping the need for a password.
Surprisingly, 44% of respondents were more concerned about protecting their credit cards and bank accounts, while only 23% were concerned about protecting their data (i.e., social security number, birth date, and address).