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Consumers Wary of Data Security

[Saturday, June 21st, 2014]

Eighty percent of people think there is no such thing as data privacy anymore, according to a recent study from Accenture.

In an annual survey of consumers between the ages of 20 and 40 across the United States and the United Kingdom, the prevailing attitude was that personal information is no longer just personal, but vulnerable to being tracked by governments and stolen by thieves.

Shopping online not seen as safe

Eighty-seven percent of respondents said that they believed their personal information was not adequately protected, and two-thirds were worried about websites keeping track of their personal data. Over half of those surveyed (56%) said they do not store their data with websites for fear of hackers, instead choosing to input their credit card information every time they buy something online.

When it comes to businesses being transparent about how they use consumers’ personal information, 70% of people think they are not doing a very good job at transparency. And 40% of respondents estimated that only 10% of their personal information is kept private by merchants.

Debit, prepaid cards more vulnerable to fraud

Consumers who are worried about their credit card information being compromised might prefer to use a debit or a prepaid card, but these types of cards offer less protection from fraud. Credit card customers may have less liability in cases of fraud than debit and prepaid cardholders.

Stores say they use data for customers’ benefit, customers aren’t so sure

Although loyalty cards and other methods of tracking customers’ purchases are meant to provide a means for companies to offer relevant discounts and reward shoppers’ loyalty, many people don’t believe that is the real reason their information is being collected. Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents think their data is being sold. But 42% did say they believed that they receive discounts and rewards based on their shopping habits being tracked, indicating that in some cases, losing privacy could pay off with savings.

Loss of privacy is a tradeoff

Although they are worried about their privacy, many people don’t seem to mind giving up a little data in order to get a bargain. Almost two-thirds of people said they’d like to get a text message from a retailer while they are shopping in the store, letting them know about sales they might be interested in.

The most important factors in making a purchase, according to the survey, were sales and prices (61%), product quality (36%), and customer service (35%).

The Accenture survey included responses from 2,012 adults and was conducted in March and April 2014.

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