Online security stats prompt key tips for start-ups

Start-ups have been urged to reassure consumers of the security of their sites, after a report revealed 95% of consumers would terminate their relationship with a company if it mishandled their data.


Transactis – a UK-based customer insight, data management and anti-fraud services business –commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 consumers in the first quarter of the year.


According to the survey, 95% of consumers would terminate their relationship with a company if it handled their private details irresponsibly, got them wrong, passed them on to third parties, failed to keep them secure or otherwise abused their trust.


More than two-thirds of the consumers surveyed said they have ceased to do business with a company in the last three years because it mishandled their data and could no longer be trusted.


However, companies that demonstrate the conscientious use of customer data are rewarded – 83% of survey respondents are keen to stay with a firm that takes proper care of their details.


Fred Schebesta, founder of, is surprised by the finding that 95% of consumers would end their relationship with a company if it mishandled their private details.


“That seems a little high to me. I think there’s a big difference between the percentage of people who [say they] would leave a company versus actually doing it,” Schebesta says.


“In terms of businesses, I think there’s three ways you can add a bit more security. We do this with our CreditCardFinder site as well because people are applying for credit cards.”


“We use things like messaging around where people are going to apply – like a call to action – with messages such as ‘We don’t take any of your details’ and outline all the security processes.”


“Also, things like padlocks – showing little images of padlocks.”


Schebesta says the next step is to get an SSL certificate, and show this certification to customers by displaying it on your website.


“You can show that to them in the top left of the browser. It’s also important to show the name of the SSL provider – show their logo,” he says.


“That way, you get that level of confidence and trust [from customers] that someone else is looking at this.”


“The other thing you can do is, with any transaction, offer the process over the phone. People might get to the point where… they just don’t feel comfortable [making payments online] so what they tend to do is pick up the phone and they’re happy to give their details over the phone.”


Meanwhile, new research from PayPal and the Centre for Internet Safety shows 65% of Australians are more careful with their ATM or credit card PIN than with their online passwords.


According to the research, 87% of consumers don’t believe anyone could guess their password, despite one in four admitting they include personal information in their passwords.


Additionally, 47% of Australians have 10 or more online accounts but two-thirds confess to having five or less passwords.


This indicates consumers are reusing passwords across several accounts, which can compromise the security of those accounts.


The research also shows half of Australians only change their passwords when prompted by the system and two-thirds never take time out to update their passwords regularly.


According to Alastair MacGibbon, consumer protection begins with the password, suggesting consumers need to meet businesses halfway with regard to online security.


“As technology progresses and consumers increasingly transact online and on mobile devices, password maintenance and security is essential,” MacGibbon said in a statement.


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