Identity Protection as Bankable Loyalty Solution

The conversation about identity theft is growing – Hollywood even explored the topic in the 2013 movie “Identity Thief” – and in that conversation is a bankable loyalty solution. Consumers already look to financial institutions to manage their finances and plan for the future. Why shouldn’t they look to banks to secure yet another asset, their identities?

The crime of identity theft is pervasive. It claims a new victim every three seconds, says Javelin Strategy and Research, and 67% of U.S. adults worry it will affect them, according to an October 2013 Harris Interactive Study. The Harris study finds that:

  • Ninety-three percent of consumers recognize identity theft as a growing problem;
  • Eighty-two percent believe their identities would be attractive to thieves;
  • And only 22% say that the chances of identity theft are slim.

Given all this and the financial damage this crime can wreak on customers, identity protection is a natural fit for a bank’s product line. On the bank’s end, identity protection drives revenue, engagement and retention as a desired loyalty solution. It can also provide a competitive edge in a tough market.

Customers, in turn, can gain peace of mind, security against a growing crime and a protection product they can manage and monitor. This means more ways of interacting with the financial institution. It also makes banks a part of the conversation about identity theft and, more importantly, part of the solution.

Convenience vs. Security

Consumers are worried about identity theft. Yet, despite awareness of the crime, they still put themselves at risk. Fifty-one percent of online shoppers don’t check the site’s security and 63% use the same passwords for multiple online accounts. What’s more, 43% typically use no password or passcode for their smartphones and 47% use no access code for their tablets, according to Harris Interactive.

The fact is, consumers are apt to choose convenience over security, and that makes the need for identity protection even more urgent. Bundling identity protection together with bank services delivers the convenience that customers desire while also meeting their need for security.

Identity protection works by monitoring consumers’ personal information and accounts for signs of fraud. An important aspect of this is credit monitoring. Credit reports can change daily and show signs of account takeovers and fraudulent new accounts, among other types of fraud. Account takeovers represent the most expensive example of identity theft and fraudulent new accounts the second, according to the Javelin survey.

There are even more ways for identity protection to help customers see more value in a bank’s brand. One is fraud resolution. An identity protection product backed by a trained fraud resolution team provides personalized assistance to customers each and every time they encounter identity theft. The customer’s ease of recovery translates to an affinity for the bank’s brand.

Plus, an identity protection product opens an ongoing dialogue between banks and customers. Banks can email customers monthly to give them an all-clear signal if their monitoring has uncovered no new activity, for example. And when new activity does come to light, customers receive an alert about what’s going on. That’s how they know when they may be in danger. They receive an alert about new activity, review it and, if concerned about financial or other possible damage, call the fraud resolution team – engaging with both the product and the bank’s brand.

There’s a reason consumers are talking about identity theft. It’s a dangerous and prevalent crime. As a source of financial guidance in your customers’ lives, you can change the conversation from, “I’m scared” to “I’m protected” by offering identity protection as part of your product line.

Mr. Anderson is president, Experian Partner Solutions, a unit of Experian North America. He can be reached at [email protected]