Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK

Building trust in a digital world

Courtesy of Telesign

Telesign is a Business Reporter client.

Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair – but digital businesses can work to build and maintain the trust of their customers.

“Trust is a major part of life,” explains Kristi Melani, Chief Marketing Officer and GTM Strategy at Telesign. “If we cannot trust family, friends or the people we work with, life gets tough. And trust is also essential for everyday transactions, especially in the digital sector where you can’t always see the person you are transacting with.”

But trust is also very easy to damage. Once damaged, it’s extremely hard to repair, and one of the quickest ways for a business to damage trust is by allowing its customers to be scammed by online fraudsters.

Fraud is growing as more transactions take place online. According to the 2023 Telesign Trust Index, half of consumers worry that telephone and digital fraud has increased in the past two years. Nearly two-thirds of fraud victims (61 per cent) report financial losses, often of more than $1,000.

The ‘Trust Certified’ badge can be reassuring for customers
— (Courtesy of Telesign)

“The victims are not always the type of people you might expect,” says Melani. “Millennials [aged between 27 and 42] are four times more likely than their parents’ or grandparents’ generation [aged 65+] to be fraud victims.”

Fraud is a major problem for businesses because consumers have high expectations when it comes to their safety online. “Consumers expect businesses to provide a safe and secure customer experience in the physical world. Why should it be different online?” states Melani. According to Telesign’s research, 94 per cent of consumers believe that companies should be responsible for protecting them from fraud.

Online businesses cannot put the responsibility of digital safety on the consumer. This is critical for every organisation to understand.

“If a consumer is defrauded during or after a transaction, they will blame the business. It’s that simple,” says Melani. “Trust has been broken. And once broken, trust can be impossible for businesses to repair.”

Businesses need to take active steps to protect their customers online, but it’s easy to overreact. “If a new customer is asked to do too many things such as sharing lots of personal details or choosing a complicated password before they can buy something, they will be put off,” explains Melani. “Too many questions, or questions that are too personal, will result in transactions being abandoned.”

In the background: customers don’t see the security tools, such as machine learning, that are working away to protect them
— (Courtesy of Telesign)

This is especially true with mobile transactions where people want to get things done quickly and where, because they are on a mobile device, they may be multitasking or distracted by their environment and so taking less notice of security.

“Transactions, whether mobile or not, need to be fast and convenient. But they also need to be secure,” says Melani. “The balance between security and convenience, known as appropriate friction, is therefore critical to get right.” And that’s where experience comes in. Telesign has a database of 20 billion transactions a year, giving insight into where the balance should be struck and the best way to approach security.

“The ambition should be to create an atmosphere of trust where the customer feels protected at all stages of a transaction,” Melani says. But the customer won’t see the security tools, such as machine learning, that are used in the background to protect them.

Customers should be reassured in some way, such as by the Trust Certified badge that Telesign awards to organisations with strong levels of security in place. In effect, the badge lets customers know that a company takes security seriously and has powerful ways of keeping them safe.

The Trust Certified badge is part of a new initiative launched by Telesign called the Continuous Trust Authority. This initiative underscores Telesign’s commitment to making the digital world a safer place by providing brands with the resources they need to cultivate trust. The Continuous Trust Authority also includes insights from the Trust Alliance, a community of thought-leaders in the digital trust and identity space who share best practices on fraud detection and prevention.

“Trust is the cornerstone of the digital world,” explains Melani. “Businesses need processes that give consumers continuous trust in the organisations they are dealing with. Because without trust, digital transactions cannot happen.”

Telesign is a trusted leader in digital identity, delivering identity services with speed, accuracy and global reach. Visit

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.