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Why Aussie banks should prioritise data security

27 Mar 2019
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New research from Unisys Corporation reveals Australian bank customers rank data security as the issue that matters to them most about their bank. 

In a red flag for Australian banks preparing to work with third-parties to roll out new services in an Open Banking environment, Australians have the region’s lowest level of trust for sharing personal data with banks.

The 2019 Asia Pacific Banking Insights: Trusting in the Banking Experience is a study of the attitudes of banking customers in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Philippines and Taiwan. 

This year’s report identifies which bank attributes matter most to consumers and explores the delicate relationship between security, convenience and trust in financial institutions.

The majority of Australians (60 per cent) cite focusing on the security and safety of customer data as the thing that matters to them most when engaging with a bank. 

Almost half (49 per cent) rank transparent services and easy to understand products as a priority – the highest in the region, and 45 per cent cite efficient service and issue resolution.

Of the five countries surveyed, Australian bank customers have the lowest level of trust in banks to protect customer data with only 16 per cent of Australians citing that banks are the organisation they trust most to share their personal data with. 

Young people aged 18-24 have the highest trust in banks (27 per cent), but trust rapidly falls with age and is half that level for those aged 35 years and over.

Australians are experiencing a crisis of trust: 39 per cent of Australians say they don’t trust any organisation – the highest in the region. 

Australians also have the region’s second-lowest level of trust in government (19 per cent). Even fewer trust card networks such as Visa or MasterCard (nine per cent), online services such as eBay, Amazon or Alibaba (four per cent) or telcos (one per cent).

Australians rank having to repeat themselves to different consultants or bank channels as the most annoying thing about their bank with 29 per cent annoyed by this issue. 

And those aged 18-34 are twice as annoyed as older Australians by online services that require them to print a form to mail or take to a branch.

Australians have the lowest level of comfort using biometrics to verify their identity to authorise financial transactions, of the five countries surveyed. 

Even so, the majority of Australians are comfortable using facial or fingerprint recognition at an ATM (59 per cent) or voice, face or fingerprint to access mobile banking apps (57 per cent). Slightly fewer (45 per cent) are comfortable using voice recognition when calling the bank’s call centre. 

However, they are yet to embrace behavioural biometrics with only 27 per cent comfortable with a bank tracking the unique way a person scrolls through websites, types on a phone or presses buttons, to verify identity.