Survey: Passwords No Longer Perceived as Most Secure Method for Authentication

Experian’s Fraud Report sees passwords miss out on a spot in the top three most secure methods for authenticating a customer’s identity for the first time in four years.

COSTA MESA, Calif. — For decades, traditional passwords have been the go-to method for online security. However, it seems that consumer preferences are beginning to shift.

According to Experian’s annual Global Identity & Fraud Report, since the pandemic, consumers have an increasing level of comfort and preference for physical and behavior-based — or invisible — methods of security.

Survey insights show that for the first time in four years, passwords did not earn a spot in the top three most secure methods for authenticating a customer’s identity.

Instead, more advanced and secure methods took the top three spots. The most preferred methods for authentication are now:

  • Physical biometrics, such as facial recognition and fingerprints
  • Pin codes sent to mobile devices
  • Behavioral analytics, passively observed signals that require no effort from the consume

“The top three methods consumers prefer actually give people the added security they desire when accessing their accounts,” says Eric Haller, Experian’s EVP and general manager of identity, fraud and DataLabs. “Consumers want to be recognized digitally without extra steps to identify themselves, and they don’t want to remember yet another password. They are open to more practical solutions in today’s digital era.”

The pandemic caused a surge in digital activity, far greater than expected and many believe this trend is not going away, according to Experian.

The report also shows that there has been a 20% increase in consumer online transaction activities since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Additionally, fraud rates are currently on the rise and consumers are still prioritizing a safe experience, with 55% citing security as the most important aspect of their online experience. It also found that two out of three businesses have increased concern about the overall level of fraud.

“Businesses must be able to properly identify their customers from fraudsters, otherwise they are not only risking financial loss but also customer trust, which is critical for today’s digital consumer. 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,” adds Haller.

This could be a good sign for security integrators, as it signals that consumers are becoming more comfortable with emerging technology.

Click here to view the full report.

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