Banks’ Power to Mine Data Frightens, Intrigues Consumers

Consumers fear financial marketers’ enthusiasm for data mining in the digital age crosses the line. Invasion of privacy? Or a harmless way to harness the vast sea of intel available today?

Consumers worldwide say they are willing to share personal information with banks, but they expect the service they get in return to be measurably better. Even with conditions and caveats, they hold deep reservations about where, how — and what — they share with financial institutions.

Today’s digital consumers are indeed a complicated bunch, and often skeptical about how financial institutions use their data. A study from Infosys shows consumers may understand the benefits of sharing their info, but remain very apprehensive about what kind of revelations financial marketers can extract through data mining. 45% of U.S. consumers feel that data mining can be “helpful,” yet at the same time 30% decry it as “invasive.”

For the global research project, Infosys surveyed 5,000 digitally savvy consumers in five countries, including the United States, UK, Australia, France and Germany. Their report examines how consumers trade private data in the banking, retail and healthcare sectors. For comparison, U.S. consumers feel most comfortable sharing data with doctors (95%), banks (89%) and retailers (82%).

( Read More: Is Banking Really Ready For Big Data? )

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What Data Consumers Want Banks to Have… And When

74% of consumers want banks to communicate with them about their account or transaction information via alerts to mobiles or smart phones; however only 39% frequently share information on these devices. 85% say they share at least some personal information when banking online, but only seven out of ten (71%) are comfortable with doing so. Nearly nine out of every ten consumers say they are more comfortable sharing personal details with a bank in person vs. online.

Almost half of bank customers (49%) do not want their purchase history and transaction data used to offer new services.

That doesn’t mean consumers aren’t interested in personalized offers. Nine out of ten (91%) would be willing to share at least one piece of information if it meant they received more customizable deals and/or user experiences, with email address (73%), ZIP code (60%) and postal address (49%) being the most likely bits of info they would share.

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“Research shows that people will certainly share though they’re very savvy about how they give up their personal information,” notes Stephen Pratt, Managing Partner at Infosys. “Companies need to crack the code in mining data effectively to gain consumer trust and clearly articulate the benefit to their customers.”

( Read More: Big Data: Big Opportunity In Banking… Or Big B.S.? )

Security = Loyalty

87% of respondents expect their bank to mine personal data to protect against fraud. But are banks reassuring customers enough? More than a third (35%) feel that their current bank or financial institution does not have a clear process for addressing fraudulent issues. A whopping 83% said they would even consider changing banks if a competitor offered assurances that their data and money would be safer.

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Download the Complete Report

You can read the entire 11-page study, “Engaging With Digital Consumers: They’re Ready, Are You?” after completing a standard registration from on the Infosys website.

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