Cybersecurity

Survey says Filipinos prefer biometrics over passwords for online banking

In global analytics software firm Fico’s “Consumer Digital Banking Survey,” a significant percentage of Filipinos have been complacent in keeping and protecting their passwords for online banking. FICO’s Consumer Digital Banking Survey was produced using an online, quantitative poll of 5,000 adults (over 18) across 10 countries carried out on behalf of FICO by an independent research company.

The study found that only 53% are using separate passwords to access multiple accounts; 18% have between two and five passwords they reuse across accounts; and, alarmingly, 14% use a single password across all accounts. Also, 15% of respondents use an encrypted password manager while 29% adopted risky approaches to recall passwords, such as writing them down in a notebook.

“As the pandemic drives take-up of online services by consumers, criminals are preying on this reliance and targeting consumers with malicious activities such as phishing and social engineering,” said Subhashish Bose, FICO’s lead for fraud, security, and compliance in the Asia Pacific. “With social distancing restrictions in the Philippines still in place, most Filipinos are only able to access their finances digitally, so it’s essential for them to educate themselves and adopt security best practices.”


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Filipinos have, at the same time, become more accepting of biometrics, with the study revealing that 72% are also happy to provide this information to their bank. The use of fingerprints was the most widely accepted approach (76%), facial scans came second (40%) and eye scans came in third (23%). A more popular alternative with Filipinos was the analysis of how they type in their password (7%), a technique known as behavioral biometrics.

Financial account online

FICO’s study shows that consumers struggle to recall their current passwords. Nearly a third of respondents (32%) reported that they have abandoned an online purchase because they forgot the login information, and 30% said they were unable to check an account balance. Forgotten usernames and passwords also affect new account openings, with 18% saying that it has stopped them doing so with an existing provider.

The study also found that 76% of Filipinos say they would open some kind of financial account online, such as personal loans (33%), credit cards (38%) and everyday transaction accounts (40%).

Security options

The survey also asked Filipinos about the current security used when logging into their mobile banking apps beyond traditional usernames and passwords. The five most widely used security alternatives were:

  • One-time passcode via SMS (62%)
  • Fingerprint scan (45%)
  • One-time passcode via email (40%)
  • Facial scan (23%)
  • One-time passcode generated by bank supplied device (20%)

“It’s very important for consumers to protect themselves from online scams and fraud,” said Bose. “Filipinos recognize that usernames and passwords are old technology, with only 43 percent prepared to use them when logging into mobile banking apps. They are willing and ready to adopt additional biometrics to secure their accounts. Financial institutions that can adapt more secure authentication technologies will be seen as trustworthy market-leaders in the Philippines.”