Because of zero liability rules, consumers rarely share the extent of the concerns banks have over account security. But their fears might be growing.
Despite the introduction of advanced security technology in the form of EMV chips, biometrics and tokenization, more than half of U.S. consumers feel card fraud has increased in the past year. And 42% say they have experienced fraud, with half of those saying it has occurred multiple times, according to new research from Auriemma Consulting Group.
The survey of 500 debit cardholders also revealed that nearly half of consumers believe they will be victimized again in the next five years.
Part of the issue is consumers' stubborn refusal to use a complex, unique password for each account. Also, more than two-thirds save passwords on their devices for at least some of their accounts, most commonly e-mail and social media, Auriemma reports.
The payments industry has long acknowledged that passwords are a weak and outdated security option, but one that will remain in place until other authentication methods reach scale.
As online activity increases, 30% of those who shop weekly say they save the password for nearly all of their accounts, which is double that of less frequent shoppers.
The larger the purchase amount, the more interested consumers become in using more security to protect that transaction. But that can be a misguided concept, said Jaclyn Holmes, the senior manager at Auriemma who directed the study.
Consumers mostly enjoy saving that time online by using one-click payment checkout methods, with Amazon 1-Click and PayPal's One Touch being the most popular, the report said. But almost two-thirds of respondents feel that process makes online shopping more vulnerable to fraud.
"Many cardholders are uneasy with the idea of being permanently logged on," Holmes said in a release. "Consumers appreciate the convenience of being able to breeze through online check-out with a single click, but it may be leading some to wonder whether that same convenience could make them a tempting target for fraud."
Some consumers are beginning to equate better security with taking more time, as they experience the EMV chip card process at the point of sale, the report said.
Forty-two percent of respondents chose chip cards as the method they considered most secure for payments, or more than three times the number that chose mobile. Even though early adopters of mobile understand the added security of tokenization, or the replacement of card numbers with a random sequence of unrelated characters, most consumers do not.
"In the general population, mobile's speed and convenience equate to being less safe," said Marianne Berry, managing director of payment insights at Auriemma. "To convert non-users, marketing messages should highlight how mobile pay transactions mask the payment card information."
The major card brands have been trying to deliver that message in advancing digital payments, but the fact that consumers are looking at EMV chip cards as the most secure method is also helpful to the brands as they continue to push the U.S. away from mag-stripe cards.
More than 345 million Visa chip cards have been issued in the U.S., a 173% increase from a year ago, or just a few months before the October 2015 liability shift for EMV cards, according to Visa's end of July figures.
About 30% of all U.S. merchant locations, or 1.4 million storefronts, are accepting chip cards, Visa said, and more than a half a billion Visa chip transactions took place in July, or 16 times more than a year ago.
That represents a key chip-on-chip transaction statistic for Visa because the 554 million transactions in July are 26% more than the 440 million in May.
Still, Visa and other card brands have made the move to bring the security of EMV chip cards, which addresses counterfeit card fraud at the point of sale, together with the mag-stripe transaction speed that consumers were accustomed to. Visa introduced Visa Quick Chip to reduce transaction times from 10 to 2 seconds, and MasterCard and Discover quickly introduced similar technology. The first Quick Chip deployment took place earlier this month at a grocery chain in the San Francisco region.
Around the same time, Javelin Strategy & Research issued a report on the growing consumer confidence in biometrics as an authentication method and fraud prevention tool.
Nearly half of U.S. consumers believe fingerprint biometric is an effective form of security, and 65% said they are willing to use it, the Javelin report said.
The payments industry has to embrace the use of biometrics for cardholder verification for physical card transactions because PIN and signature transactions will continue to frustrate consumers without slowing down fraudsters, Javelin's report said.
Some merchants are beginning to test biometric readers at the physical point of sale, especially in settings like exercise facilities where patrons are less likely to carry a full wallet.
"PIN and signature are solutions for another past life," said Al Pascual, research director and head of fraud and security at Javelin.
"Financial institutions and issuers need to consider how to optimize the cardholder verification process for 2017 and beyond," Pascual said in a release about the report. "Biometrics will be central to that proposition, bolstered by solutions that reduce friction and empower cardholders."
The information in the Javelin report was compiled from various surveys, totaling more than 20,000 consumers, in the past year.