02 Nov 2021

Everyone prefers biometric (almost)

Research from Onfido explores the recent shift in consumer attitudes around digital access to financial services, and how brands can best meet customer expectations as part of techUK’s Digital Identity Week. #digitalidweek

Lockdown forced millions to take a virtual crash course in digital access to financial services. With face-to-face interactions significantly reduced, ‘digital default’ was imposed on customers, just when our trust in ‘normality’ was turned upside down. That in turn caused everyone involved to re-evaluate how we establish and maintain trust. But did the default to digital meet customer expectations? We asked 5,000 consumers from across the US, UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Here’s what we learned.

·        90% of customers now feel comfortable accessing services online

·        Half feel more comfortable doing this than they did before Covid

·        Security and convenience are the primary concerns of the remaining 10%

So what about the slower adopters? A substantial majority of the remaining 10% worry that their personal details might get stolen. The rest said they find it inconvenient compared to making in-branch transactions. Interestingly, a respondent’s age has little predictable bearing on which concerns them more. Either way, discomfort with online services is all about trust with data, or trust with time.

That tells us that trust in branches is being replaced by trust in brands. Frictionless digital customer experiences build brand trust faster than the presence of bricks and mortar. Customers now equate a seamless digital experience with brand competency. As a result, more than two thirds of customers – 67% – want to be able to sign up for a new bank account online, and half would prefer to. Plus:

·        60% would rather open a healthcare or telemedicine account online

·        70% would rather open a gambling account online

·        70% would rather set up a phone contract online

The numbers are typically the same or higher for maintaining and transacting through those and other accounts once they’re set up. It’s all about convenience.

·        53% don’t want to travel to branches

·        47% don’t want limited branch opening hours

·        40% don’t want to have to queue in branch to speak to someone

·        48% want instant access to the service online

Satisfaction levels with digital services from banking to car rental are high across the board. But there’s a limiting factor: the online transacting experience, whether getting a new phone contract or buying car insurance, had better take less than 10 minutes. That’s the initial trust tipping point between digital security and perceived incompetence.

Customers may be trusting, but companies shouldn’t be. Adopting a ‘Zero Trust’ security strategy ensures that only the right customers have access, regardless of the device they’re using. Fortunately, biometric identity verification is simple and popular. It also gives customers what they want: speed and convenience. And they trust in its security, so much so that 91% of customers who’ve had their identity verified by submitting a photo of an identity document would like to use this option again. Plus:

·        57% say their use of biometrics increased over the past year,

·        64% are open to biometrics over documents in branch, and

·        59% over dialling a call centre and revealing their first pet’s name (or whatever).

·        Finally, 70% are open to biometrics instead of a password.

If you would like to understand more about the shift in global consumers’ expectations around digital verification and how brands can best meet them without compromising on security download the full report here



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Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Head of Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID, techUK

Katherine joined techUK in May 2018 and currently leads the Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID programme. 

Prior to techUK, Katherine worked as a Policy Advisor at the Government Digital Service (GDS) supporting the digital transformation of UK Government.

Whilst working at the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) Katherine led AMRC’s policy work on patient data, consent and opt-out.    

Katherine has a BSc degree in Biology from the University of Nottingham.

[email protected]
020 7331 2019

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Zoe Brockbank

Programme Coordinator, Policy, Tech and Innovation, techUK

Zoe is a Programme Assistant, supporting techUK's work across Policy, Technology and Innovation.

The team makes the tech case to government and policymakers in Westminster, Whitehall, Brussels and across the UK on the most pressing issues affecting this sector and supports the Technology and Innovation team in the application and expansion of emerging technologies across business, including Geospatial Data, Quantum Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies.

Before joining techUK, Zoe worked as a Business Development and Membership Coordinator at London First and prior to that Zoe worked in Partnerships at a number of Forex and CFD brokerage firms including Think Markets, ETX Capital and Central Markets.

Zoe has a degree (BA Hons) from the University of Westminster and in her spare time, Zoe enjoys travelling, painting, keeping fit and socialising with friends.

[email protected]
020 7331 2174

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