Sick of two-step verification? 8 in 10 find password security measures ‘unnecessary’

NEW YORK — Remembering your many passwords is no easy task these days, particularly with so many sites requiring elaborate combinations of letters and symbols, and companies forcing employees to create new ones every 90 days. So it should be no surprise that a new study shows 8 in 10 Americans view the sophisticated and pesky password practices we follow as overkill.

In a survey of 2,000 American adults commissioned by analytics software firm FICO, 81% of participants said they don’t see the need for what they consider unnecessary digital security measures. It may be because 78% of adults admit they just have a hard time keeping track of all their passwords. Similarly, 64% said they’re irritated with constantly re-making passwords that mandate a healthy mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.

“Captcha” codes weren’t too popular among survey-takers either. Seven in 10 said they were frustrated by the often-times illegible display of numbers and letters that force users to prove they’re not robots. Overall, the same number agreed there are simply too many online security measures these days in general.

“There’s a real discrepancy here – consumers are glad their bank is protecting them, but frustrated that the protection is making it harder for them to open accounts and make purchases,” says TJ Horan, Vice President of fraud solutions at FICO, in a press release. “When it comes to digital transformation, a smooth customer experience is going to be vital. The winners will be the firms that can balance this against the need to stop fraud.”

The annoyance over extensive account protection runs deeper, according to the survey. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents said they get irritated when trying to remember their email passwords, while 65% are irked when their email application signs them out without warning.

Annoying security measures don’t just apply to the internet. The survey also found that nearly half (47%) expressed their frustration over having to answer a series of security questions while on the phone with customer service representatives.

Is it a necessary evil? The survey found that between email, social media, shopping accounts, online banking, and more, the average person has 34 online accounts. Keeping that in mind, online security will continue to be a balancing act between protecting data and convenience.

“This survey shows the conflict between consumers’ desire for greater protection and their desire for easy processes,” says Horan. “As we move to more instant transactions, including real-time payments, it’s clear that the industry has a lot of work to do to get this balance right.”

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Ben Renner

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