Have We Reached a Tipping Point in Consumer Credit Card Confidence?

The run up to Infosecurity Europe (this week in London) is always an interesting time because of the associated wave of product launches, surveys and press releases. One announcement that caught my eye was the results of a MORI survey commissioned by Secerno, a leading UK supplier of database security technology, on current British consumer views on personal data theft.

Of course these days we should expect retail customers to be more street-wise about data theft. Especially following incidents such as the recent breach reported by TJ Maxx, in which hackers stole details of more than 45 million payment cards. It was interesting to observe some consumers interviewed on UK TV News over the weekend (following a credit card skimming incident in Hull) saying that they now preferred to pay for petrol in cash to avoid the potential risk of data theft.

But the figures in the Secerno survey are disturbing for the progress of e-Commerce in the UK. They indicate that a massive 95% of consumers are concerned about data security theft, and that 63% of adults are concerned about the ability of data centres to protect their date, in the UK and abroad. These figures cannot be ignored by merchants because they also suggest that a whopping 53% of customers might refrain from using services and almost as many might opt to cancel their credit cards from companies that do not immediately address major breaches.

Perhaps we have reached a major tipping point at which large numbers of consumers are losing confidence in the security of credit card transactions. It certainly seems that way from this survey, because it also indicates that 45% of consumers do not think banks and online retailers are doing enough to protect their personal data. Such figures suggest there could be a major crisis of confidence brewing. And that’s something we must avoid at all costs.