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Study: Consumers growing uneasy about increasing access to personal data


Despite the ramping up of global data regulations, most consumers are concerned about how companies collect and use their information.

In fact, an overwhelming 96% of consumers are "somewhat" to "extremely" concerned about data collection and usage. This is understandable, as more than 75% engage in digital payment transactions at least once a month.

This was according to “Consumer Data Privacy: Strategic Opportunities to Address Emerging Consumer Needs,” a report from A.T. Kearney.

The level and intensity of consumer digital commerce engagement will continue to increase, the report revealed. And for those transacting online, consumers are increasingly using cards-on-file, both at individual retailers and third-party payment providers (e.g., PayPal, Visa Checkout) to conduct digital purchases.

The incidence of card-on-file being the primary payment method for digital purchases grew from 38% in 2015 to 44% in 2016. Strikingly, among those who keep cards on files with retailers as primary payment method for digital purchases, 44% have already have their payment credentials on file with more than five retailers.

In terms of consumer attitudes, a clear divide exists in the consumer market where 34% of consumers consider the use of their payment/purchase data to be "an invasion of privacy that should be prohibited.” A counter-balancing 36% of consumers see some benefit from data sharing, if appropriate consumer compensation is rewarded.

However, the study reveals that the following are of real interest to all consumers:

The monitoring and reporting of data use by third parties,

Usage-based compensation schemes to reward consumers,

Clear industry protocols and standards around usage and data-sharing

Against this backdrop, banks are viewed as the payments and digital commerce provider most prepared to act in consumers' best interest. Among consumers who engage in digital commerce and are prepared to share their data, 65% rated their primary bank as a provider with whom they were comfortable sharing personal information. Banks' high rating compared very favorably to lower consumer ratings for Amazon (34%), Apple (22%), Google (17%), and large national retailers (10%).

Globally — most notably in the U.K., Europe and Australia — regulators have been pushing for greater control over data collection and sharing practices by banks and tech firms. While evolving U.S. consumer attitudes could lead U.S. policy down a similar path to the U.K., Europe, and Australia, in the absence of regulation, the banking industry could provide sought-after leadership to develop standards, protocols, and service offerings to address this increasingly important consumer issue, according to the report.

“Our research shows that a significant majority of U.S. consumers have serious concerns about the privacy of their data,” said Bob Hedges, lead partner in A.T. Kearney's global financial services practice.

“A level of frustration exists over the inability to act on their concerns,” he said. “With growing consumer interest in this issue, there is the need to both have the service solutions and the public policy in place that will help protect consumer data, while allowing consumers to share it in ways they want to."

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