US customers trust banks to guard their data, says ABA

US customers trust banks to guard their data, says ABA

Despite a number of high profile security breaches and growing fears of identity theft, consumers continue to trust banks to guard their information more than other institutions, according to a new survey by the American Bankers Association (ABA).

The majority of the 1000 consumers polled - 66% - identified banks as the most trustworthy with their personal information, says the ABA.

In a distant second place, government agencies received 11% of the vote, and universities were third with 10%.

Only three per cent of consumers trusted retailers with their personal data, while even fewer - two per cent - thought data brokers were trustworthy.

Ed Yingling, president and CEO of the ABA, says that the vote of confidence from consumers makes sense as unlike other industries banks have a strict regulatory system in place to prevent data breaches and notify customers if one occurs that could put their identity at risk.

Yingling adds: "When you look at the number of data breaches that have occurred in 2006, you'll see a very small percentage happened at financial institutions."

Earlier this year several financial services firms in the US - including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Washington Mutual - were forced to reissue debit cards to customers following the security breach at an undisclosed US retailer. Up to 600,000 cardholders were thought to be at risk.

More recently a security breach at Goldleaf Financial Solutions, a provider of Internet services to US community banks, exposed online banking details belonging to customers of over 300 banks to hackers.

Earlier this year a US House committee approved a new data security law that requires companies that store confidential personal information to notify customers of any security breach.

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