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How Seriously Do Banks Take Educating Their Customers Against Risky Behaviour?

Aite Group has just published a research report titled “Global Consumers: Losing Confidence in the Battle Against Fraud”, based on a global survey conducted by ACI Worldwide.

There are many interesting statistics that have come out of this survey from a global perspective, but as I work across the EMEA region, let me focus on the fascinating and, dare I say, somewhat shocking EMEA figures.

There are numerous questions and results related to risky behaviour that really caught my eye, but let's begin with:

  • In the last 5 years, have you made a note of your PIN and carried it with you or kept it with your card? 

Italy has come out on top at 20%. That isn’t a typo. That’s 1 out of every 5 people! The UAE isn’t far behind at 17%! Staggeringly high. Only the UK and Sweden have a downward trend over recent years.  

  • In the last 5 years, have you used online banking or internet shopping without security software or on a public computer?

Russia leads the way here with 37%! Only the Netherlands and the UK are below the 10% mark.  

  • In the last 5 years, have you thrown papers or documents with account numbers (e.g., bank statements) in the trash bin?

Most countries show figures of greater than 20%, with South Africa leading at 31%. Poland, UK and the Netherlands are the lowest, averaging around 15%.  

In reading through report and in particular the EMEA statistics, I picked up that the UK and Netherlands responses appear to be better in comparison to Russia, UAE, South Africa and Italy when looking at overall risky behaviour. To confirm this, I generated a league table based on how each country is ranked against each question and scored them accordingly.

The EMEA Risky Behaviour League Table 

1. Russia (riskiest consumers)

2. UAE

3. South Africa

4. Italy

5. Sweden

6. France

7. Germany

8. Poland

9. UK

10. Netherlands (less risky consumers)


As we can see, based on consumer responses, Russian, UAE and South African consumers appear to be on the riskiest list and the Netherlands and UK consumers are far less risky – why is this?

I can’t speak for all counties that participated in the EMEA poll, but as I reside in the UK and have UK bank accounts, I’m fully aware of how UK banks devise consumer anti-fraud education strategy. Most British Banks take consumer education against fraud and risky behaviour very seriously and invest heavily. There is a sense of ‘help me help you’ mentality from UK banks and it looks like their consumer education strategy to avoid risky consumer behaviour is working well here.

Consumers were also asked if they have confidence in their financial institution to protect them from card fraud. Based on the response, ‘Yes, to an extent, they’re doing what they can’, the UK comes out on top with 72% followed by the Netherlands and Germany, each with 66%.

There is a possible counter argument if we look at the chart, ‘Percentage of respondents who have experienced card fraud in the past five years’.  The UK comes in third behind UAE and South Africa (within EMEA).

Education Education Education

According to the report, less than one-third of consumers across EMEA have absolute confidence that their financial institution can protect them from fraud, but there is a contradiction here due to how some consumers behave and don’t protect themselves. 

Having worked in fraud prevention roles for over 15 years, specifically in fraud strategy, educating customers against risky behaviour and how they can protect themselves (and the bank) is paramount. To me, the evidence from the report clearly shows that consumer education is falling short within specific EMEA regions and requires improvement. 

I like to think I’m vigilant when it comes to keeping myself protected and fully aware of the do’s and don’ts, but having looked at some of the questions put to consumers, I confess; I’m guilty of one or two of them. Do I leave my smartphone unlocked when not using it – guilty! But this is something I’m about to change.

You can view and download the full report here.