Walking the Fine Line Between Customer Security and Convenience

Published: December 13, 2018 by David Britton

Man sitting and looking at his phone

Most of us have experienced the feeling of frustration when it comes to online security protocols. You need to log-in to an account, but you’ve forgotten your password. When you choose an option to reset your password, you are asked to answer one of your security questions. But you forget which movie you said was your favorite while you were growing up.

You take a guess, but unfortunately it’s the wrong one and you find yourself locked out of your account. At this point, you’re annoyed and wonder why accessing your account is so difficult in the first place. Historically, the attempt to balance customer security and convenience has been one of the biggest challenges online businesses have faced.

As consumer expectations for smooth online experiences increase, businesses aim to deliver security protocols that make customers feel safe and protected, while allowing for easy and convenient access. According to our recent Global Fraud and Identity Report, 66 percent of consumers like security protocols when they transact online because it makes them feel protected.

In fact, the lack of visible security was the number one reason customers abandoned a transaction. However, while consumers may tolerate the nuisance of common barriers to accessing their accounts, including forgetting their password or having to re-renter other security controls like CAPTCHA or two-factor authentication, higher friction doesn’t necessarily mean better security or a better overall experience.

If businesses were able to offer a frictionless customer experience that was as secure, if not more secure, than the experience today, they could potentially increase overall revenue and growth. One-third of the consumers we surveyed said they would do more transactions online if there weren’t so many security hurdles to overcome. And the number rose even higher in different age groups. For instance, the percentage rose to 42 percent when it came to millennials.

We believe that a fundamental shift in the thinking is required. No longer, should businesses attempt to balance security against consumer convenience, but rather, we believe that with the right use of technology, analytics and data, both goals can be simultaneously achieved.

In the name of both security and convenience independently, we are already seeing data-driven, artificial-intelligence powered systems operating behind the scenes. We believe that a merging of these two functions will yield significant benefits for the business as a whole.

For this to work, businesses will need to gain and maintain the customer’s trust without the familiar perception of security. Customers want to be recognized and businesses want to address the growing fraud they are experiencing. Solutions that combine device and behavioral intelligence with other data points such as biometrics, processed via advanced machine-learning, could help businesses in the future, simultaneously recognize their customers more accurately, and do so without challenging them.

Winning companies will move from balancing security against convenience, to achieving both goals via a synergistic approach, and ultimately will evolve trust through technology, data and analytics.

Never miss a blog post!

Subscribe to keep up with all things Experian.