Identity & Fraud

Building Digital Trust: The New Normal

Building Digital Trust: The New Normal

September 24, 2020 | David Adams

It has never been more important for businesses and consumers to trust who they're doing business with.

Everyone knows the adage, “trust is a two-way street." For consumers and businesses, that concept has taken on new urgency in the digital marketplace. Consumers are increasingly doing business online, but businesses still need to know with whom they are transacting. At the same time, consumers are ever more reluctant to divulge personal information to a business they don’t trust. What used to be considered just a trend in consumer behavior, is now the new normal. And, those who are not prepared may soon go the way of the dodo.

Consumer Trust is Earned

Today, consumers still prefer to conduct business with those they trust. Unfortunately, only 12% of consumers trust companies more than they did a few years ago, and only 17% trust companies more than they did a decade ago, according to a survey from PWC1. This is a huge challenge to overcome and something businesses need to work at. From the moment consumers share their email with a business, they want to know their information is protected. Even more so when they are opening an account or creating an online profile. Therefore, it’s important to establish certain checks or security protocols to verify the consumer's identity for future engagements. On the other hand, trust is fragile and can easily be broken by actions like sharing a consumer’s information with third parties or not verifying a consumer's identity when they login from a new machine.

Businesses Must Invest in Technology

It’s just as important for a business to trust the consumer. Sometimes it’s as small as trusting the email someone has provided for future communications. And in other circumstances it's ensuring there is no fraudulent activity occurring when providing a line of credit or selling expensive goods. According to Aite, 61% of businesses surveyed have made significant investment or improvements in their authentication controls in the past two years.2 That's critical in order to establish trust without impacting the consumer experience.

What is the best way to build trust?

In the new normal, noise is everywhere making it difficult to answer, “What’s the best way to build trust?”  But if done the right way, it’s possible to build trust with the consumer while still protecting the business from potential fraudsters. When piecing together the right technology and processes, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Risk Tolerance: How risk averse are you as a business? High risk would warrant having multiple solutions from verification to authentication to a fraud check.  Low risk may require only one or two solutions.
  • Priorities / Challenges: This helps determine where to start. If fraud is a concern, the process may begin with a fraud check and escalate into consumer authentication. If it’s about getting to know the consumer, a simple verification could work, leading into authentication or fraud checks as they proceed through the funnel.
  • Consumer Journey: At what point do you engage with consumers? Do you collect an email address the moment they visit your website where a verification check could occur? Is the first point of contact at the application or later in the journey?
  • Consumer Engagement: How much or how little do you want the consumer to know what you’re doing? If you want to keep it under the radar, verifications and fraud checks can be done almost entirely behind the scenes based on information provided by the consumer. Authentication checks require more engagement and can sometimes create increased friction if the consumer is not prepared.

If it still seems complicated join our panel of experts as we discuss how to build digital trust. Webinar Shades of Gray


  1. PWC: Consumer Intelligence Series:
  2. Aite: Market Trends in Digital Fraud Mitigation

For more information visit our Digital Authentication page or contact us today.

David Adams

David Adams

Head of Commercial Product Marketing

A seasoned technology expert, David Adams has spent his career specializing in SaaS based technology and high growth markets. With Equifax, as the Head of Commercial Product Marketing, David is responsible for the Go-To-Market strategy for the entirety of the commercial portfolio, from marketing, to acquisition to man[...]