More than half of all consumers shun online banking due to fraud fears, figures released today show.

The global RSA Consumer Online Fraud survey found that 52 percent of account holders do not carry out transactions on the web because of concerns over potential fraud and identity theft.

The study also showed that four out of five users are now likely to ignore emails from their bank as a result of phishing scams.

The survey, which sought the views of 1,700 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain, showed that 91 percent of respondents are willing to use stronger authentication – beyond the standard username and password – if it were offered.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents surveyed said that they would like their financial institution to use risk-based authentication. More than half of all account holders said they would also consider using a personalized image to authenticate their online banking.

The study also found that 82 percent of customers would like their financial firm to monitor online banking sessions for signs of irregular, and potentially criminal, activity. More than half of all consumers surveyed said that their bank should contact them if any suspicious behavior was detected online.

"2006 was an eventful year for financial institutions in terms of ramping up their online banking security," said Christopher Young, vice president and general manager for consumer solutions at RSA. "The consensus used to be that security is something that should be handled quietly – and that consumers trust their bank to keep their information and assets safe. However, as awareness of identity theft and online fraud grows, people want to feel reassured that they are in fact protected."