Consumers around the world are more worried about theft of personal financial data than about issues such as the environment and terrorism, according to research released by Visa International.
The survey of more than 6000 consumers across 12 countries found the data security was a major concern for 64% of respondents and surpassed worries about the environment (62%) and terrorism (58%), as well as other major issues such as job loss (57%), disease or epidemics (55%) and natural disasters (48%).
In the research, consumers also report changes in behaviour due to the threat of ID theft with 24% of respondents limiting use of online shopping sites while 62% of respondents said they are more discriminate about the sites at which they make purchases.
The majority (63%) of consumers say they are now more careful when disposing of financial statements, while half (50%) review the privacy policies of companies with which they do business.
Consumers also viewed broader education as part of the solution, with 40% of respondents saying they would feel more secure if they had more information about how to protect themselves against loss of their personal data. Just over a third (36%) indicated they would feel much more secure knowing that an independent organisation was enforcing standards.
To that end, Visa says it supports the development of a new cross-industry forum that brings together all stakeholders in the payment chain to create an objective, stand-alone entity to manage data security issues for the industry.
Christopher Rodrigues, CEO of Visa International, says: "To prevent future data security compromises, everyone, everywhere, that engages in commerce must take responsibility for their role in the payments chain, including, banks, processors, retailers and consumers."