Customers take business to a competitor when frustrated with identity check process

Four minute limit before online retail abandonment

  • Customers take business to a competitor when frustrated with identity check process
  • Identity impatience greatest in online gaming industry

Nottingham, 6 December 2011 — Experian®, the global information services company, today revealed that customers are prepared to spend four minutes  on average undergoing identity verification and other security checks before they abandon an online retail transaction.

A new study commissioned by Experian, in conjunction with the International Fraud Prevention Research Centre, reveals the extent to which time-consuming identity and security procedures continue to be a source of frustration for consumers, and a cause of lost business for online retailers and other service providers.

44 per cent of respondents said they had abandoned an online shopping transaction because the checks were taking too long. 43 per cent admitted turning to a competitor after becoming frustrated with lengthy procedures.

Younger adults are the least patient, with 35 per cent of adults aged under 35 saying they had abandoned one or two transactions due to the length of security checks in the past 12 months alone, and 13 per cent admitting to having done so ‘frequently’. This compares to 36 per cent and 10 per cent respectively of those aged 35-54, and 32 per cent and eight per cent of those over 55.

Professor Paul Barnes, Director of the International Fraud Prevention Research Centre, said: “Identity checks are in all our interests and necessary, however time-consuming they appear at the time. Not only do they protect the business from intrusion and fraud but protect the consumer as well, reducing both security costs, which are passed on in the form of higher prices, and the chance of he/ she being the victim of fraud. We all benefit and we are all safer.”

Identity impatience was greatest in the online gaming environment, with people willing to tolerate just a three minute wait on average before opting out. Both the transport and telecommunications industries had a five minute window before customers’ patience runs out, and retail just four minutes. Respondents were willing to undergo up to six minutes worth of checks when buying a holiday online.

More tolerant in banking
Consumers were, however, far more tolerant with procedures when it comes to protecting their money, being prepared to wait almost as long online as in-branch. Respondents stated that they were willing to undergo five minutes worth of checks with signing up for online banking, compared to six in branches.

Nick Mothershaw, Director of Identity & Fraud at Experian, comments: “Online retail has boomed in recent years and customers expect a quick, smooth process when checking out their basket or signing up to a service. Our tolerance time is short at only four minutes, so it’s up to retailers to make sure they make it as fast and easy as possible without compromising on levels of security.

“The message for providers using older forms of identity verification and other security procedures is to make the checks faster and less onerous.”


Sector / industry

Tolerance time

In-branch banking

6 minutes


6 minutes


6 minutes

Online banking

5 minutes


5 minutes


5 minutes


4 minutes


3 minutes



Chantal Heckford / Sarah Tye / Kate Douglas
Lansons Communications
020 7490 8828 / /

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 80 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2011 was US$4.2 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 41 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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