UK consumers have no idea how a call centre treats financial details

Almost all UK consumers have no idea what happens to any financial information they give over to call centre personnel over the phone, according to the latest survey to be commissioned by Elitetele.com.

In fact, 97 per cent of consumers (2000 UK citizens were questioned by Opinion Matters) are ignorant in this respect, with 36 per cent of respondents simply stating they had no idea what might happen to any sensitive data they imparted to the call centre staff member, and 61 per cent incorrectly guessed how their information might be treated or stored.

As a result, Elitetele.com is encouraging businesses that have a call centre to make further efforts in educating customers on security when it comes to making payments over the phone. It also notes firms should review PCI compliance to avoid the potential prospect of a stinging fine, with penalties set to become much heftier (to the tune of two per cent of annual turnover) when the new EU data protection regulations come into force eventually.

There is certainly some suspicion on the part of customers, particularly when it comes to giving financial details to a staff member who works from home – 43 per cent of respondents said their details were most vulnerable to fraud or abuse in this case. Surprisingly, a third of those surveyed also believed employees who worked in an office posed the same level of threat as a home-based worker.

Matt Newing, CEO at Elitetele.com, commented: “There is no one size fits all solution. Compliance levels depend on the size and nature of a business, and knowing where to start can prove a daunting task due to ever changing rules and regulations.

“One of the first measures that can be put in place quickly and easily is to end the practice of asking customers to read their sensitive card details out loud over the phone. It’s easier and safer for call centre staff and customers alike if we offer customers the option of entering card numbers via their telephone keypad instead – whether that’s an automated process or managed by the agent. We need to reassure consumers that they are not obliged to say this information aloud.

“I would urge businesses to seek expert advice on deploying the best solution for them ahead of the new EU legislation, helping them become and remain PCI compliant. By doing so, businesses can have the peace of mind that they will not be handed a fine which will halt all future progress.”