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SMEs to accept trade-offs for stronger scam protection: survey


Half of all SMEs would be willing to accept slower payment processing for greater protection from scams, NAB research shows.

By Miranda Brownlee 12 minute read

SMEs are increasingly willing to trade slower payment processing times for stronger scammer protection, a NAB Consumer & Business Insights survey reveals.

Support for more checks and balances also has solid support, with SMEs on average scoring 6.7 points out of 10, with 10 being complete support.

Support was highest in Tasmania at 7.6 points. In other states, it ranged from 6.9 points in South Australia to 6.4 points in Queensland.


The survey indicated that support ranged widely across different industries with support the highest in the finance and insurance sector at 7.9 points, followed by retail.

Support ranged more widely by industry. It was highest in the Finance & Insurance sector (7.9 pts), followed by Retail.

NAB said the major banks wanted to slow the speed of some banking activity including online payments to ensure that customers could be kept from the rising criminal activity targeting them.

Consumers were also asked about their willingness to experience slower payment processing if it meant that they were better protected from scammers.

Four in 10 consumers were extremely willing to do so.

Willingness to sacrifice convenience for security rated a little higher in rural areas (7.0 points) than in capital and regional cities (6.9 per cent), with more consumers in rural areas (47 per cent) “extremely” prepared to experience slower payment processing times than in regional and capital cities (43 per cent).

Less convenience for more security against scammers increased with age for both genders. Women scored higher in all age groups except the 50–64 group where the gap was also widest (men 7.7 points, women 7.2 points).

The number of people who scored “high” increased significantly with age from around one in four in the 18–29 age groups to around two in three in the over-65 age groups.

Training conducted on cyber security

The research also revealed that only 15 per cent of SMEs overall conduct extensive training around scams and other cyber security risks, and 4 in 10 have not much training at all.

“By industry, training was highest in the Finance & Insurance sector (6.6 pts), with over 4 in 10 firms conducting extensive training. Accommodation & Hospitality firms were least likely to have conducted scams training (2.0 pts), with only 1 in 20 firms conducting extensive training,” the insights report stated.

“At the other extreme, over 1 in 2 firms in Construction and Transport & Storage did not conduct much training at all.”

The three most widely used sources for information and training about scams and cyber security risks were industry associations, bank websites, external consultations and experts, according to the research.

“Around 1 in 3 rely on government websites, 1 in 4 social media and internal IT consultants and experts, and 1 in 5 their telecommunications provider. Around 1 in 20 don’t get any information or training at all,” the survey said.


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