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US small businesses ditch banks over online fraud

August 6, 2012 - Around three quarters of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the US have fallen victim to online banking fraud and many are ditching their provider as a result, according to research from Guardian Analytics and Ponemon Institute.

A survey of 998 SMBs shows that 54% now use mobile devices to access online banking, up from 23% in 2010. Meanwhile, the proportion doing all business banking online has more than doubled from nine per cent two years ago to 20%.

The use of electronic channels is popular with crooks as well as businesses: 74% of SMBs quizzed have been hit be electronic banking fraud, 52% in the past year. Just under three quarters of these online fraud attacks result in the successful transfer of money and, despite efforts by financial institutions to recover funds, 61% result in lost money.

Reimbursement of losses varies - in some cases the business takes the full hit, in some instances it is shared, and in a quarter, banks pay out fully.

A big majority - 72% - of respondents hold their financial institution primarily accountable for ensuring that their online bank account is secure. However, only 43% say their provider takes appropriate action to limit risky transactions.

This means that when fraud does happen, it costs banks business: 56% of SMBs indicate that it would take only one successful attack to lose confidence in their financial institution's ability to provide adequate security. Around 40% have taken some, or all, of their business elsewhere.

Terry Austin, CEO, Guardian Analytics. "The Ponemon Institute's study clearly outlines the strategic impact that fraud has on a financial institution - lost profits and lost customers. Further, recent court cases have sided with businesses when it comes to fraud liability, emphasizing financial institutions need sound practices and security to protect customers from account takeover attacks."

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