Mortgage advisers seek cure for password pain

Up to 81% of brokers would like to see electronic passwords abolished, shows research by Origo, the standards body for e-commerce in the UK financial services industry.

Origo has undergone research into the use of e-services by mortgage advisers, and attitudes to the concept of using UNIPASS digital certificates in the sector.

Origo commissioned Bdifferent, the brand strategy and research company, to conduct the research. Teresa Roux, a director of Bdifferent, says: The degree of frustration was very obvious, as was the potential and desire to do more electronic business. And although we were initially surprised by the unusually high levels of positive feedback for this type of research, on reflection it was clear that the advisers saw the potential of UNIPASS to provide a simple solution.

UNIPASS has already replaced the need for passwords for around 19,000 users, largely from the life and pensions sector, saving them valuable time and money and providing an easy but secure way to do business online. Results from the research reveal strong demand for the service to be introduced in the mortgage sector, with 81% of participants saying they would be likely or very likely adopters.

Feedback received from over 100 mortgage advisers reveals passwords are a major barrier to the use of e-services among mortgage advisers, with the majority finding them irritating or very irritating. Intermediaries have to use a large number of different passwords to access lender websites – 26% of those interviewed have between 11 and 20 different passwords, 22% have up to 30, and 17% claim to have more than 50. Whats more, 40% of these advisers say they may access a lenders site more than five times for one mortgage, for every client, further heightening the irritation factor of using passwords.

Maintaining records of all these passwords is a constant hassle for mortgage advisers, and there is no consistently secure means of storing them. Most advisers interviewed say they keep a written note of their passwords in a filofax or diary, some in an Excel spreadsheet, or even on various pieces of paper or notice boards which are shared across their office.

When introduced to the concept of UNIPASS as a solution to these issues, 72% of mortgage advisers agreed they would be glad to get rid of the multitude of existing passwords.

Participants in the research also perceive advantages for lenders in terms of saving them unnecessary phone calls for help in setting up passwords for new intermediaries, and also sorting out those that are lost or out of date.

Paul Pettitt, managing director of Origo, says: This research shows the frustration mortgage advisers currently have with using passwords, which is putting many off using e-services more often. The reactions we have had to the concept of introducing digital certificates as a solution to this problem in the sector have been very positive. UNIPASS will enable mortgage advisers to switch seamlessly between lender sites, speeding up the whole process, taking away some of the hassle and generally making life easier for advisers and lenders alike.