A survey of UK consumers, sponsored by telecoms suppliers Avaya and Sabio, had some worrying results for the financial sector.

Some 46 percent of respondents suspected that “high level” breaches of security at financial institutions was the norm. Mobile phone companies did not fare much better: 40 percent suspected breaches within that sector.

The report claims that the biggest security risk is perceived to come from contact centres. According to the sponsors, six million UK consumers - around 10 percent of the population - ended their relationship with an organisation because of concerns about security at the call center.

Fear of call centre fraud has stopped 18 million consumers from making purchases over the phone when interacting with a call centre, the report claims.

There were some more positive results - at least for technology providers. Consumers prefer the automation and anonymity provided by technology and regard human nature as the weakest security link.

Just 5 per cent think that sharing card details with a human is secure, while 81 percent would feel more comfortable entering a password on a keypad to confirm their identity when calling a contact centre.

The survey also threw up some contradictions. While wanting better security consumers don’t like cumbersome security procedures. Some 51 percent said they were put off using a provider if there are too many passwords and security details needed.

"Consumers' contradictory attitudes leave businesses stuck between a rock and a hard place. By focusing on service, speed and security – brands can improve customer lifetime value, strengthen security and increase brand loyalty. Consumer trust in technology is key. It should be used to reassure customers that their security concerns are being addressed while simultaneously improving the customer experience." said Simon Culmer, Managing Director, UK, Avaya.