Brits voice frustrations with manual account onboarding and authentication during COVID


Onfido, the global identity verification and authentication provider, has announced the results of its survey ‘Customer attitudes to digital identity: meet the expectations of tomorrow’* which evaluated the online behaviour of over 4,000 respondents in the UK, US, France and Germany in August 2020.

The survey found that UK consumers are more actively using online accounts since COVID lockdowns in March, yet report security and privacy concerns about opening accounts, leading to a high number of abandoned sign ups and lost revenue opportunities for businesses.

Between April and July 2020, almost two-thirds (65%) of Brits increased how often they access products and services online, with 22% reporting they accessed their online accounts at least 50% more than usual during this time. However, this increased use of online services has led to several concerns about security and privacy when signing up to new accounts. 

“We are not surprised that COVID lockdowns would increase the use of online accounts, but the rate of abandonment during account sign up due to security and privacy concerns was surprising to us,” said Robert Humphrey, Chief Marketing Officer and Strategist for Onfido. “This shines a light on an opportunity for UK businesses to provide a more seamless, user-friendly process, while still engaging strong identity verification in order to improve account onboarding and authentication.”

The top three concerns for UK consumers are:

  1. Data will be passed on to third parties (53%)
  2. Security of the information provided (52%)
  3. Asking for too much information (37%)

Moreover, Brits have stated that manually completing online forms with personal information including address history, date of birth and government ID information is both inconvenient (32%) and insecure (29%). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that more than four-in-ten (43%) have abandoned signing up for a new account or service when asked to do so.  “This abandonment rate suggests that businesses are missing out on new revenue opportunities from new customers,” said Humphrey. “Abandoning at account set up is akin to a customer walking into a brick and mortar store and turning around and walking out without making a purchase.”

The report has also confirmed that consumers care about working with businesses they trust with 53% of Brits stating they will not use a business they do not trust. The introduction of document and biometric checks has, however, been shown to increase trust in a business. Across all countries surveyed, 80% of consumers said they trust businesses that use document and biometric checks, compared to those who use other methods (67%). 

In the UK specifically, one third (33%) of Brits stated that using a photo of a government ID (passport, driver’s license etc.) and taking a selfie with a mobile device is a convenient way to create an online account. Furthermore, they highlighted that it shows a company is invested in their security (49%) and privacy (34%). 

What’s more, UK consumers have identified in which business sectors they would prefer to use document and biometric checks. Within financial services, for instance, over half (59%) would like to use identity document verification (IDV) to open a bank account, while 26% would opt for this option to open a trading or investing account. Furthermore, Brits would like to use IDV to check-in for flights (45%), hotels (26%) and to rent a vehicle such as a car or escooter (27%). 

*The survey was commissioned by Onfido and carried out by Dynata. It was distributed and completed through an online platform. The survey was completed in July 2020 by 4,035 respondents from the UK, USA, Germany and France using an online panel.

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