Banking customers ranked security ahead of low fees as determining factors for choosing a bank, according to research by Verint. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

Financial firms have long understood that security is a high priority for their customers — albeit typically not as high a priority as the banking fees they are charged.

Until now.

Indeed, U.S. consumers finally selected protection over paying fees as the key determining factor in picking and staying with a bank, according to recent research released by Verint. Respondents cited terms including “security of personal information,” “fraud protection,” and “fraud alerts” as the most important factors surrounding their banking selection — replacing their previously top concern of paying “low or no fees.” The research was based on a survey of more than 5,000 consumers.

“Concerns about the security of their money and protection against identity fraud are clearly at the forefront of customers’ minds when choosing a new bank,” according to the Verint study, dubbed Experience Index: Banking. However, the research also called out that "concern" does not always equate to understanding when it comes to banking security.

“In 2022, despite fraud and security factors becoming more important to consumers than in the previous study, customers report not knowing where to sign up for fraud alerts or whether they actually receive them," according to the report.

Case in point: Despite 60- and 70-something respondents' claim that security of personal information and fraud protection are two of their highest priorities nowadays, more than one-quarter of Boomers (27%) currently do not even know if they receive fraud alerts from their bank.

In fact, roughly half of people over age 41 do not choose to receive fraud alerts because they said they do not know if they are offered.

“While consumers clearly embrace the convenience of apps and websites, they recognize that it puts their money and data at more risk,” the study concluded, “meaning security and fraud factors feature higher in their reasons for choosing a new financial institution.”