Consumers want value from banks in exchange for data

An Accenture report outlines four personas and how willing they are to give up their data.

Financial institutions are among the biggest collectors of consumer data. A new report from Accenture suggests consumers are okay with this, though their comfort varies depending on who they are and what they get out of it.

Accenture polled 47,000 consumers across 28 countries to compile the report, including 2,000 from Canada. In the report, the consultancy broke down consumers into four “personas” that described their attitudes and behaviour when it comes to banks, insurers and how those companies collect and use data.

The largest persona in Canada is the “Traditionalists,” who tend to be older, in a slightly lower income bracket and rarely, if ever, use digital platforms to interact with their bank. They prefer human interactions, and are the least willing to exchange data for personalized experiences. They trust their financial institutions with their financial security (although that trust has fallen over the past year), but they are far more distrustful of tech companies and retailers to do the same. Accenture estimates 40% of Canadians to be traditionalists (compared to 21% globally and 35% in the U.S.).

“Pragmatists” are evenly distributed across demographic groups, They are mostly satisfied with their financial institutions and trust advice from human advisors at banks. While they trust their banks to handle their financial security, they are also highly cautious about their data privacy, are the least likely to be interest in personalized experiences and don’t care which platform they use to interact with a bank, so long as it is fast, convenient and effective. Accenture says 26% of Canadians fall in this persona (compared to 23% globally and 28% in the U.S.).

“Skeptics” are the least trustful of financial institutions, risk-adverse, less tech-savvy and largely have low interest in integrated propositions from banks and insurers. This is mostly driven by the fact that many of them are unsatisfied with their financial institutions, and feel let down by the standard of customer service they’ve received. In Canada, 23% of consumers are considered “skeptics” (compared to 33% globally and 16% in the U.S.).

“Pioneers” tend to be under 34 and in a higher income bracket. They are also tech-savvy, highly interested in new innovations and willing to take financial risks to improve their lives, but are also very ethically minded, with the majority saying CSR efforts impact their decisions. They tend to be more trusting of financial institutions and their use of data (and more trusting of tech companies and retailers to look after their financial well-being), and are the most interested in sharing data, receiving personalized offers and having access to their financial institutions through more platforms. They are also the least loyal group, and are the most likely to switch banks for one that offers more value. In Canada, Accenture identified 11% of consumers as being “Pioneers” (compared to 23% globally and 21% in the U.S.).

For years, consumer reports have suggested Canadians are willing to exchange their data for some kind of benefit. However, many are unaware of how exactly that data is used after it is collected, and can be surprised when they see it in action.

Accenture’s survey explicitly asked respondents whether they’d be willing to share no data, “a little” data (covering information about their income), “some” data (their location data) or “a lot” of data (covering their lifestyle habits).

The survey found that receiving more competitive or lower prices from their banks and insurers would make Canadians the most willing to share their data, with 59% saying they would exchange “some” or “a lot.” And 53% said they would exchange their data for easier loan approvals, personalized offers and personalized services to reduce risk of injury or loss. Though, 18% said they would give up no data in exchange for faster loan approvals, with 20% saying the same about personalized services and 24% about personalized offers.

Despite this, 72% of Canadians describe themselves as “very cautious” about the privacy of their personal data, the second-biggest concern for consumers (behind increasing costs) when asked what would make them leave their bank or insurer.

“Canadian consumers are willing to share their personal data in instances where it makes their lives easier but remain cautious of exactly how their information is being used,” said Robert Vokes, managing director of financial services at Accenture in Canada. “With this in mind, banks and insurers need to deliver hyper-relevant and highly convenient experiences in order to remain relevant, retain trust and win customer loyalty in a digital economy.”