When it comes to buying financial services, utilities, or car insurance, just one in five (21 per cent) favour speaking to a provider in person, while the rest prefer online dealings.
Despite often complex information, terms and conditions that underpin financial products and services, the vast majority of customers favour online transactions, according to new research by Experian. Car insurance (54 per cent) and utility providers (53 per cent) top the list with consumers saying they prefer to apply online than deal with an individual.
However, four out of five (81 per cent) experience frustration when going through a financial providers’ ‘digital journey’. The biggest bug-bear for nearly a third of online applicants (29 per cent) was answering all the questions only to be told they did not qualify.
Furthermore, they are unforgiving, with nearly two out of five simply opting to go elsewhere. It also emerged that poor sentiment sticks, with a similar number (29 per cent) avoiding the provider completely in the future.
Over-55s are particularly prone to this behaviour with more than one in three (36 per cent) saying they would avoid providers permanently after a bad experience online.
Ian Cunningham, Managing Director of ID & Fraud at Experian, says: “People want the convenience and flexibility of being able to apply for essential services online – particularly when time is an issue. For those who get turned down, it’s not necessarily due a bad credit history. Our research shows that for one in eight (12 per cent) it was because further proof of identification was needed, while for one in nine (11 per cent) there just wasn’t enough information about them.
“However, more and more people are just giving up on an online provider if they find the experience is too difficult and protracted. Regardless of the desire to avoid talking to someone, online shoppers still – quite rightly – expect a great customer experience. With less than one in five (19 per cent) likely to contact the provider to address the issue, it is clear that the rest are ready to go elsewhere if they have the choice. User experience is quickly becoming one of the most important considerations for businesses that have an online offering, but this also has to be balanced with robust security and fraud prevention systems.”
|Top five negative aspects of online applications for UK adults|
|Answering all questions only to be rejected||29 per cent|
|The risk to personal security||27 per cent|
|The amount of personal information that needs to be provided and filled in manually||27 per cent|
|Not being able to discuss with someone face to face||24 per cent|
|Answering all the questions but still having to post in ID documents||22 per cent|
The survey also revealed that despite preferring online interaction, concerns about the safety of their information online is still high on the list. More than one in four (27 per cent) of those surveyed believe their personal security may be at risk when handing over so many of their details online.
Car insurance and utilities rank as the top products that UK adults prefer to apply for online whilst utilities and current accounts are the preferred products for consumers to manage accounts online.
|Financial product||% Prefer to apply online||% Prefer to manage accounts online|
|Utilities(gas, water, electricity)||53%||55%|
|Public sector services e.g driving license, tax returns||43%||41%|
|Benefits e.g. jobseekers allowance, working tax credit||29%||28%|
Ian advises: “Even the savviest ‘internet only’ customers are worried about the security of the online process, so there is some work still to be done in putting their minds at rest.
“A few things people should look for when entering sensitive personal information on a web page include the ‘lock’ icon to the left of the site’s URL in the address bar. You should also check the URL for ‘https’ rather than ‘http’ – this means that the site uses ‘Secure Sockets Layer’, which enables data to be shared securely. Ultimately, if you are not sure, don’t enter your details. Contact the service provider instead to verify the address.”
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