Experian’s latest Global Identity & Fraud Report suggests that the password era may be coming to an end. The report is based on the survey responses of more than 2,700 businesses and 9,000 individual consumers spread across 10 countries, and found that those respondents did not list the password as one of their preferred security methodologies.
The respondents instead chose physical biometrics (including face and fingerprint recognition), SMS PIN codes, and behavioral biometrics as their three most trusted forms of authentication. This is the first time that passwords failed to crack the top three in the Experian report, which indicates that people are losing faith in passwords as a primary authentication option.
That trend was especially pronounced among the younger generations. Forty-eight percent of those under 40 feel safer with biometrics now than they did before the onset of COVID-19, though the comparable number was only 37 percent for those above that age threshold.
“Consumers want to be recognized digitally without extra steps to identify themselves, and they don’t want to remember yet another password,” said Experian EVP Eric Haller. “They are open to more practical solutions in today’s digital era.”
The move away from passwords is occurring despite a sharp increase in overall digital activity. The survey showed a 20 percent rise in online consumer traffic during the pandemic, with 55 percent of the respondents identifying security as the most important component of a positive online experience. People are slightly more worried about privacy and identity theft than they were before the pandemic, and are much more concerned about fraud, though younger generations were more worried than their older counterparts with regards to the latter.
Consumers cared more about protecting their financial information than they did about personal information like addresses and social security numbers. Two-thirds of the businesses surveyed were similarly concerned about the rising rate of fraud.
“Businesses must be able to identify their customers from fraudsters, otherwise they are risking financial loss but also customer trust, which is critical for today’s digital consumer,” added Haller. “There’s an opportunity for companies to modernize their authentication that doesn’t require heavy customer involvement and doesn’t take away from a seamless digital journey.”
Experian’s previous Global Identity & Fraud Report found that many people often felt unrecognized in their interactions with online businesses. The 2019 report, meanwhile indicated that many of those consumers would be willing to share personal information in exchange for a safer and more personal digital experience.
April 9, 2021 – by Eric Weiss