A new global study by the Economist Intelligence Unit and TransUnion has overwhelmingly found the key to whether or not companies go out of business hinges on providing consumers friction-right digital transactions. Nearly 85% of global executives surveyed as part of the study said they believe smooth digital transactions are “essential to business survival” rather than merely a competitive edge. 

Overwhelmingly Global Executives Believe Smooth Digital Transactions are Essential to Survival






Dominican Republic

Hong Kong



South Africa
















“COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated digital transformation with 61% of our survey respondents saying their organization has changed their digital transaction process due to the pandemic,” said Shai Cohen, senior vice president of Global Fraud Solutions at TransUnion. “But all of this digital progress will be wiped out if we can’t remove these barriers to building bilateral digital trust. For instance, two-thirds of executives in the study who said their company changed their digital transaction process as a result of the pandemic experienced glitches."

The report, “New Dimensions of Change: Building Trust in a Digital Consumer Landscape,” included responses from 1,610 executives in Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S. The research uncovered how technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), national digital IDs[1] and super-apps[2] can help overcome hurdles and possibly create new challenges to building digital trust.


Artificial Intelligence (AI), Biometrics and National Digital IDs Will Play an Increasingly Important Role in Fraud Prevention 

Overwhelmingly respondents answered that: 1) biometrics[3] will be the dominant payment customer authentication method, 2) fraud detection and improved security is the greatest benefit to using AI, and 3) a national digital ID system will help prevent consumer fraud.

Approximately 85% of executives say biometrics are likely to be used to authenticate the vast majority of payments in the next ten years. About 43% of respondents noted that fraud detection and improved security is the greatest benefit to using AI. This was the top selection by far with smoother customer experience being the second most used answer at 29%. Furthermore, the vast majority of executives, 79%, think national digital IDs will help fraud prevention in consumer transactions.

“Ensuring consumer trust starts with preventing fraud. Our research overwhelmingly showed that biometrics, AI and national digital IDs aren’t just a fad for consumer fraud prevention. They are key for trusted commerce for the foreseeable future,” Cohen continued.


National Digital IDs Hold the Key to Economic Inclusion

Seven in 10 executives believe a national digital ID gives low-income groups access to consumer services they would have previously been excluded from. By industry, respondents from consumer lending and telecommunications are most likely to think such IDs give lower-income groups access to services they might otherwise lack. Both industries have led the way over the last decade in reaching the community of financially-underserved customers, manifested in innovations like microfinance and mobile money. 


Executives Believe Consumers are Comfortable Sharing Personal Data

Nearly 73% of executives believe consumers are comfortable sharing personal data with private companies and 71% with governments. Brazilian, Chinese and Dominican Republican executives have vastly differing views about whether or not consumers are willing to share data with private companies versus government bodies (more than 10% difference between the two). Chinese respondents believe consumers are much more comfortable sharing personal data with government bodies than companies. Brazilian and Dominican Republican executives have the opposite belief.       

“Technological innovations like AI, biometrics and national digital IDs paired with proven fraud prevention methods like device intelligence can provide a more convenient and inclusive way for consumers to transact that still protects security and privacy,” Cohen concluded.

The survey findings are at the “New Dimensions of Change: Building trust in a digital consumer landscape” report website.