Being large and reputable is not enough to increase digital trust

Carol Chris, Regional General Manager, Australia & New Zealand at GBG Plc

GBG Plc are the global experts in digital identity, helping businesses prevent fraud and meet complex compliance requirements. They have released findings from their survey.

14% of Australians say being a large, reputable organisation like a bank would be the biggest factor in increasing their trust in an organisation requesting their 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 according to the survey.

GBG’s Australian Digital Trust survey

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 along cases of identity theft increasing by 84% from 2019 to over 20,000 in 2020. 

Despite increasing online 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 Digital Trust survey found that the banking and financial services sector consisted of organisations with both some of the highest and lowest levels of trust in Australia.

While 14% are comfortable sharing their digital identity with the large banks, 46% ranked cryptobanks as being the kind of businesses they are least comfortable with.

Additionally, a third (33%) of respondents 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, trust in a company is most likely to increase if they show clear safety protocols on their website such as multi-factor identification steps (27%). 

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.

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 28% respondents always read through the terms and conditions provided when sharing their digital identity online.

Comments on GBG’s Australian Digital Trust survey

Carol Chris, the 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 has secured the digital trust of customers but familiarity creates a higher level of comfort seen with government services, big banks, superannuation and healthcare providers.”

“Fintechs, neo-banks, 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,” said Chris.

GBG Digital Trust survey key findings 

39% 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 looking to switch banks, the survey results reflect a growing level of comfort with working with banks online.

The high stickiness banks have with their customers helps to highlight 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 identity online. Of the very comfortable, 30% are aged 35-44, 20% are aged 25-34, and 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 56% more likely to pay a bill online since the start of the pandemic, and 33% are more likely to apply for a government service, use a healthcare service (28%) or make a cash transfer (32%) online in the pandemic.

While there has been a shift to consumers opening bank accounts online, many still prefer face to face, with 26% saying they would only open a bank account if they were in lockdowns.

Similarly, almost a third would buy/sell a house (31%) online only if they were in lockdowns.