22 May 2006
LogicaCMG today warned European retail banks to assess the competitive advantage of introducing biometrics or risk being left behind. Consumer research commissioned by LogicaCMG and conducted by Vanson Bourne across seven European countries revealed that the introduction of biometrics could lead to much greater consumer confidence in switching between different bank accounts and other financial products.
The financial services industry has made huge advances in fraud prevention, such as implementing Chip & PIN cards, but fear of fraudulent applications and account takeover mean that consumers are still not entirely comfortable with the measures taken by their banks. The pan-European research found that on average, 57% of people would be more likely to change their current account provider if all it took was an identity card and fingerprint to establish and prove identity. In Germany this average increases to 64%, almost two thirds of the population.
27% of Europeans would be more likely to change their insurance providers and 25% would switch savings account providers. Just over 1 in 5 (21%) Europeans would be more likely to start a pension and 17% said they would be more likely to switch mortgage providers.
Regional variations put the French as most likely to change insurance providers and start a pension, the Dutch most likely to change savings accounts and the Portuguese most likely to change mortgage.
Broken down by age, 18-24 year olds are most likely to switch their current account or start a pension (61% and 26% respectively), whilst 25-34 year olds are most likely to switch mortgage providers and insurance (21% and 30% respectively).
Paul Gribbon, consultant in LogicaCMG’s electronic identity practice, explains what this means for European banks and financial product providers: “Customer loyalty is vital to the financial services market. This is both a very real opportunity and a very real threat to banks across the continent. As banks have to proliferate across channels such as digital television, the internet, telephone banking systems and physical branches, biometrics will be a key method in establishing and verifying the identity of customers.”
“If people are so much more likely to switch accounts when biometrics hit the high street, then banks need to prepare for this. Early adopters will be able to offer a “fast-switch” service, increasing market share at the expense of competitors and controlling and focusing churn to their advantage.”
“The industry will then move into a second phase where banks need to establish what services they can offer their customers to increase customer retention instead of moving to their competitors. This is a clear indication that biometric authentication in the hands of the customer – which can range from voice recognition to an iris scan - will lead to a quiet revolution in the retail financial services market across Europe.”