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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ABA Survey: 94 Percent of Consumers Say Retailers Should Improve Security Systems to Protect Financial Information

WASHINGTON — An overwhelming majority of consumers think retailers should be taking steps to protect consumer data from hackers, according to a new survey released today by the American Bankers Association.

Following high-profile data breaches at major retailers including Target and Home Depot, 94 percent of consumers say it is important for retailers to upgrade their security controls, and 70 percent say retailers should be installing EMV chip-enabled card readers as soon as possible. The survey of 1,006 U.S. adults was conducted for ABA by Ipsos Public Affairs, an independent market research firm, Sept. 28-30, 2015.

Merchants are not currently subject to a national data security standard like financial institutions, but consumers believe they should be with 78 percent of consumers saying the government should hold retailers, banks and other companies involved in the payments system to the same security standards. When asked where cardholders feel most vulnerable to fraud following a credit card purchase, 64 percent say they are most concerned about hackers breaking into retailers’ computer systems, compared to just 16 percent who cite physical card theft and 13 percent who cite “phishing” scams.

“Millions of Americans have had their most sensitive information compromised in retailer data breaches, so it’s understandable that consumers are concerned that retailers aren’t doing more to prevent future hacking incidents,” said Doug Johnson, ABA’s senior vice president of payments and cybersecurity policy. “These survey results reaffirm what we’ve believed all along. Retailers need to join with banks and payment networks to combat fraud and focus on the future by updating their payment security systems and proactively working to address emerging threats head-on.”

The survey also found that consumers recognize the importance of innovation in securing customer data, with 88 percent of respondents saying they believe it is important for credit card companies to prioritize the development of new, dynamic payment technologies to stay ahead of ever-evolving criminal threats. Dynamic technologies – such as tokenization used in mobile wallets like Apple Pay – generate new information for every credit card transaction, rendering stolen financial information useless.

Not surprisingly, consumers also continue to value the zero-liability policies offered by financial institutions, with 81 percent of respondents saying they place value on not being liable for fraudulent charges on their cards.

“Regardless of whether banks or retailers are ultimately responsible for the cost of credit card fraud, zero-liability for consumers is our top priority and will not change now or in the future,” Johnson said. “Securing customer data is and will remain the top priority for banks and other financial institutions across the U.S., despite the evolving criminal threats we might face.”

Click here for an infographic of the survey results.

About the Survey

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of the American Bankers Association. Fielded from September 28 – 30, 2015, the survey reveals consumers’ views on data security, and what is needed to protect sensitive financial information. For the survey, a sample of 1,006 U.S. adults aged 18 and over was interviewed online, including 817 respondents who said they own at least one credit card.

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