To attract more online banking customers and keep the existing ones, banks must change many consumers¿ belief that online banking isn¿t safe. This is one of the key conclusions outlined in a report just published by Forrester Research (NASDAQ: FORR).

Benjamin Ensor, Senior Analyst, Financial Services at Forrester says: ¿Consumers¿ deep-seated security fears remain one of the biggest barriers to online banking use in Europe, particularly in countries like Italy, France, and the UK, where two-factor online banking authentication is rare or unknown. The more confidence Net users have in security, the more likely they are to bank online.¿

To understand how security fears affect Net users¿ adoption of online banking, Forrester recently asked 22,907 Europeans how concerned they are about the privacy and security of their personal details in a range of situations.

Forrester¿s key findings include:

  • Net users who worry about online security don¿t bank online.
    Just 30% of European Net users are confident of the security of personal financial information, like credit and debit card numbers, when used to make transactions online. That matters, because Net users who are confident of online security are four and a half times more likely to use online banking than those who are not.
  • Security fears are the second-biggest barrier to banking online.
    Two-fifths of the European Net users who don¿t use online banking say they don¿t because they worry about security. Worse, security fears don¿t just keep some consumers from signing up for online banking ¿ they cause some existing online banking users to stop.
  • Many consumers think online banking is less safe than paying by card in a restaurant.
    The majority of consumers in Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and the Netherlands are less concerned about paying by card in a restaurant than about using online banking.
  • Net users do little to protect themselves.
    Despite their security fears, it is clear that many ¿ perhaps most ¿ Net users don¿t fully understand the complex range of security threats they face or the precautions that they ought to take.

Net Users Won¿t Overcome Their Security Fears Without Help From The Banks

According to Forrester, banks can¿t rely on governments or Internet service providers (ISPs) to make the Internet a safe place to do business. They can¿t rely on their customers either. Despite their security worries, many Net users don¿t take basic security precautions. So banks must both allay Net users¿ fears and take measures to compensate for their inaction. Banks should look to educate Net users about security precautions, not let usability fears compromise security, deploy or strengthen two-factor authentication urgently, and collaborate rather than compete on security.

The research mentioned in this release, “Why Banks Must Tackle Net Users’ Security Fears“, is available to Forrester WholeView 2¿ clients.