Digital Trust Reputation tech

Being large and reputable is not enough to increase digital trust

GBG’s Digital Trust survey of over 1,000 Australians finds being large and reputable would increase digital trust for 14% of consumers, while businesses’ terms and conditions are increasingly important when it comes to sharing digital identities and personal information online

GBG, the global experts in digital identity, helping businesses prevent fraud and meet complex compliance requirements, has today released findings that only 14% of Australians say being a large, reputable organisation such as a bank would be the biggest factor in increasing their trust in an organisation requesting their personal information or digital identity. With consumers driven to use online services as a result of the pandemic, there is still an overall higher level of comfort engaging with established businesses, with the survey finding two-thirds (66%) said they are still most comfortable with government websites, services and apps, 55% said large banks, 43% said superannuation firms, and 41% said healthcare providers.

The Digital Trust survey of 1,004 Australians comes as more aspects of Australians’ lives are taking a digitally led approach, including contact tracing, education and school exams. This comes alongside cases of identity theft increasing by 84% from 2019 to over 20,000 in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Despite increasingly online and digital-first behaviours and activities due to COVID-19, which is leading to more consumers needing to share their digital identity and personal information online, not all businesses are effectively building digital trust to maintain customer loyalty and engagement. Consumers ranked social media apps (55%), cryptobanks (46%), and wagering and betting companies (40%) as being the least comfortable they are with sharing their digital identity.

The banking and financial services sector consisted of organisations with both some of the highest and lowest levels of trust. While 14% are comfortable sharing their digital identity with the likes of large banks, almost half (46%) ranked cryptobanks as being the kind of businesses they are least comfortable with, and a third (33%) said the same of alternative lenders and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) organisations when it comes to sharing their digital identity. 

The survey also found that to increase digital trust, businesses need to address and clearly communicate the security and safety implications to the consumer. When requesting personal information or one’s digital identity, trust in an organisation is most likely to increase if they demonstrate clear safety protocols on their website such as multi-factor identification steps (27%). 

GBG’s survey found 19% of Australians would increase trust in an organisation if they have clear terms and conditions available online that make it clear how they will use the customer’s information. Furthermore, a recent YouGov report found only 7% of young people are confident they understand the terms and conditions they have ‘accepted’, yet GBG’s survey found more than a quarter (28%) of Australians always read through the terms and conditions provided when sharing their digital identity online.

Carol Chris, Regional General Manager ANZ at GBG, commented, “Businesses across all industries still have a long way to go in building and sustaining digital trust. No industry, established or nascent, has completely secured the digital trust of its customers, though familiarity creates a higher level of comfort seen with government services, big banks, superannuation providers and healthcare providers. Newer business models like fintechs and neo-banks, and lifestyle and entertainment businesses taking a digitalised approach could benefit from collaborating with the more established segments to gain trust. But most importantly, consumers feel more assured when organisations clearly make the effort to integrate frontend security measures, which underscores the need for simple, safe and secure identity verification for onboarding and authentication for re-access.”

Other key findings from the survey include: 

  • 39% of Australians say they sometimes trust their bank with their digital identity and personal information, and 37% completely trust their bank with their digital identity and personal information. With only 4% saying they don’t trust their bank with this information and are currently looking to switch banks, the survey results reflect a growing level of comfort with working with banks online and the high stickiness banks have with their customers, which highlights a proofpoint of customer loyalty that fintechs and alternative lenders seem yet to generate. 
  • 48% of Australians are comfortable or very comfortable with sharing their digital identity online. Of those who are very comfortable, 30% are aged 35-44, 20% are aged 25-34, and only 4% are aged 65+.
  • Seniors (65+ years) were least comfortable with sharing their digital identities with cryptobanks, while 18-24 year olds were least likely to trust social media apps.
  • Day-to-day transactions are more likely to take place online, with more than half (56%) more likely to pay a bill online since the start of the pandemic, and almost a third more likely to apply for a government service (33%), use a healthcare service (28%) or make a cash transfer (32%) online since the start of the pandemic.
  • While there has been a shift to consumers opening bank accounts online, many still prefer this to happen face to face, with more than a quarter saying they would only open a bank account (26%) if they were in lockdowns. Similarly, almost a third would buy/sell a house (31%) online only if they were in lockdowns.

Matthew Giannelis

Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry.

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