FICO Survey Reveals Canadian Consumers Need to Better Protect Themselves When Banking Online

Canadians increasingly trust alternative security methods: 72 percent are happy to have banks analyze behavioural biometrics

Customer Development
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Fraud Protection & Compliance

TORONTO, May 13, 2020


  • The FICO Consumer Digital Banking study examines how Canadians are protecting their financial information online as reliance on digital services grows
  • The study found only 37 percent of Canadians use separate passwords to access multiple accounts and only 16 percent use a password manager 
  • 26 percent report abandoning an online purchase because they forgot login information
  • Almost three-quarters of respondents (72 percent) said they would be happy for their bank to analyze behavioral biometrics such as typing speed in order to secure financial information online
  • Canadians view their financial information as protected by financial service providers as nearly two-thirds (62 percent) think that financial services companies ask enough questions when opening accounts

FICO, a global leader in financial crime prevention, today released the Canadian results of the FICO Consumer Digital Banking study, which found that while Canadians are comfortable banking online, a large percentage need to take the necessary precautions to secure their information. With consumers increasingly relying on digital banking services due to COVID-19, the study examines the measures Canadians take to protect their financial information online, along with attitudes towards digital financial services and emerging security options such as behavioral biometrics.

The study found that only 37 percent of Canadians use separate passwords to access each of their accounts, while 22 percent reuse between two and five passwords across multiple accounts and only 5 percent use a single password across all accounts. Furthermore, only 16 percent of respondents use a password manager, while almost a quarter (24 percent) write their passwords down in a notebook.

“Cyber criminals are taking advantage of COVID-19 to target Canadians with phishing and social engineering scams,” said Kevin Deveau, Vice President and Managing Director of FICO Canada. “With many consumers vulnerable during this time, it’s critical to remain vigilant against such scams and take the right precautions when accessing financial services online.”

The study indicates that many consumers struggle with maintaining their current passwords, as 26 percent reported abandoning an online purchase because they forgot login information, and 25 percent reported being unable to check an account balance. Nine percent of respondents said a forgotten username or password has stopped them from opening a new account with an existing provider.

While there is room to improve how Canadians protect their login information when digital banking, the survey found that more are turning to alternative security options to protect themselves online, including physical and behavioral biometrics.

In fact, close to three-quarters of respondents (72 percent) said they would be happy for their bank to analyze behavioral biometrics such as typing speed in order to secure their financial information online.  Additionally, 64 percent are happy to provide their banks with biometric information; and almost half (43 percent) expect to set up biometric security features such as finger print scan, when opening an account.

When using mobile banking apps, Canadians are more open to alternative authentication measures when logging in, less than half (43 percent) prefer to log in with a username and password. The top five most widely used security alternatives are:

  • One-time passcode via SMS (62 percent)
  • One-time passcode via email (58 percent)
  • Fingerprint scan (45 percent)
  • Facial scan (23 percent)
  • One-time passcode spoken to your mobile phone (10 percent)

Overall, Canadians feel their financial information is well protected by financial service providers as almost two-thirds (62 percent) think that financial services companies ask enough questions when opening accounts. As a result, Canadians are less likely to feel they are at threat from identity theft than in other nations surveyed. 13 percent of respondents acknowledge that their identity could have been used by a criminal to open a financial account including almost 5% that know that a criminal has stolen their identity to do this.

“While Canadians are more comfortable with online banking and are open to security innovations, these are unprecedented times.  With more Canadians banking online and through their mobile devices than ever, it’s a critical time to evaluate how we protect ourselves and our financial information,” said Deveau. “The latest security tools and biometrics are a good place for Canadians to start improving their authentication habits. More importantly, remember to keep information security top of mind to help combat scammers now and in the future.”

For more information on the FICO Consumer Digital Banking survey, check out: Customer Experience and Fraud as well as Security and Authentication in a Digital World.

Read the FICO blog: 8 Tips for Avoiding COVID-19 Scams

Results of an online, qualitative survey of 5,000 adults (over 18) across 10 countries carried out on behalf of FICO by an independent research company.

About FICO
FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956 and based in Silicon Valley, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 195 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 100 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of airplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.

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Media Contact:
Jim Black
Porter Novelli for FICO

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