Insecure and Loving It: Report Details Why People Won’t Give up Their Passwords

For years, banks and retailers have been heeding the advice of security industry experts and preparing for the eventuality that passwords will become obsolete as a way to authenticate the identity of an individual online. A recent report, however, suggests we might be stuck with them for a while. Users are comfortable using them and uneducated about the alternatives. At the same time, banks and merchants are loath to complicate a familiar user experience, potentially introducing friction into an experience that already suffers from low conversion rates. Aite surveyed online banking users, but the results impact card-not-present merchants that allow consumers to establish an account and keep a card on file. Millennials, not surprisingly, would be the most likely to switch to an alternative identification method. Forty-eight percent of millennials indicated such a willingness, followed by 40 percent of Gen Xers, 29 percent of baby boomers and only 16 percent of seniors.

Across all age groups, Aite found the user name/password combination was easiest to use of the seven methods detailed in the Aite report, even ahead of technologies like device location that requires no action on their part. The Boston-based consultancy said, to combat this inertia and steer consumers toward more secure authentication methods, companies should encourage their customers to use mobile devices, where password and user-name entry is more difficult and consumers are getting used to biometric authentication methods like fingerprint scanning. They also recommend passive authentication methods–invisible to consumers—that can identify riskier users who then can be subject to more invasive technologies.

Learn More About This Topic at the CNP Expo

  • Behavioral vs. Physical Biometrics
  • Why Authentication is Important