Why It’s Important to Invest in New Technology – Even During a Pandemic

June 9, 2020 by Kathleen Peters

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting rush to transition to a remote lifestyle made it clear that many businesses need a refreshed digital authentication and fraud prevention strategy that includes an investment in technology and provides consumer assurance.

This is particularly important when it comes to identity, as many of the standard in-person verification methods and tools are currently unavailable.

The meaning of identity is growing and shifting

Technology trends are intersecting with social trends to create heightened awareness, and a whole new public conversation has emerged around customer trust and privacy. Attitudes and ideas are changing—even to the point of what we mean by “identity.”

An identity is no longer just a name, date of birth, and SSN. Now, there are digital manifestations everywhere you look: screen names, email addresses, mobile phone numbers, device identifiers, and the other “exhaust” we leave behind as we travel the internet.

This leads to concerns about what an identity is, who owns it, and who manages and protects it. Businesses have to be able to prove to their ability to protect their customers’ identities through investment in technology and a robust fraud strategy.

Consumer attitudes are changing

Several years ago, consumers were excited by all the new digital capabilities and the speed, ease, and convenience they provided. Last year, Experian found that consumers still wanted those things, with 70% willing to provide more information to businesses if there was a perceived benefit.

However, they also wanted more security in the balance. In Experian’s most recent Global Identity and Fraud Report, we found that 74% of consumers say that security is the most important factor when deciding to engage with a business.

Consumers are particularly more tolerant of friction during the enrollment process—as a means of building trust. But, when they return to the app or website, they want to be recognized. This means achieving a balance by using layered technologies, some of which are active and visible to the consumer, and some of which are invisibly working in the background to confirm the identity of returning consumers.

Consumer attitudes vs. regulatory pressure

The drivers behind the business changes are twofold: shifting consumer attitudes and regulatory changes. While regulations are becoming stricter on a national and global level, they’re not keeping pace with technology and social change.

The digital world is evolving at a rapid pace, opening up more new ways for companies to collect information about consumers and use it to identify and verify, and also to target goods and services. With all of this data available, it’s important for businesses to use the tools in the market to help protect identity information.

Next steps in technology

The bottom line is, businesses can’t wait for regulations to dictate how best to protect information. Instead, they should be looking to technologies like physical and behavioral biometrics to help provide identity authentication and protection – layering those solutions with information from the user and from third parties to give a holistic consumer view. Businesses should adopt a platform approach for identity and fraud in order to be able to adapt quickly, whether to incorporate new kinds of technology or to prevent emerging types of fraud.

By investing in technology now, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses can build the flexibility needed to respond to future crises and help offset future fraud losses. In turn, those fraud-loss savings can then be used to help grow the business in the future.

Learn more about Experian’s commitment to helping businesses maximize their investment in technology to safeguard against fraud.

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