Increasing numbers of customers share a surprising amount of personal data with service providers.  Service users, most of whom are customers, tell researchers they have few reservations or reluctance with sharing their contact information, including credit card numbers and other revealing data.

In the not-too-distant past, consumers were far more reluctant to post credit card numbers on any vendor’s website. Yet most service providers have been successful in overcoming any of those prior barriers.

So how did this change come about?  Service providers discovered that users will exchange their personal information for the opportunity of convenience.  Convenience, in fact, drives the decisions of most users.  Those service designers who gain users’ trust have a great likelihood of gaining valuable user insights that can be used for improving experiences.

Reasons User’s Share Their Personal Data

  • User’s desire for convenience
  • Cultural acceptability, normality that exists
  • Service providers use restricting access to their online products and services
  • Trust in the service provider

Relaxation Over Sharing Data

About half of all mobile device owners store or link access to their most sensitive data, researchers say. Yet mobile devices are highly susceptible to others with bad intentions.

Mobile devices are accessible through downloaded applications that, additionally, access the device’s GPS. The result allows providers to track device owners where they go and what they do. On the first order, marketers are all over these features and will gather it to shape consumer offerings, including advertising. Even deeper still, the data collected from these devices help others to learn which triggers will likely influence an individual’s behavior.

To add, service providers, plant cookies on our computer hard drives, used to monitor our web activities down to our keystrokes. This transparency opens windows to nefarious intentions by others, and many of us either know or suspect it.  Yet, even so, most of us continue with our behaviors with either little knowledge or a lackadaisical approach that shows little regard. How many times every day are users responding with emails, phone numbers, addresses, birth dates, employer names, and sometimes social identification numbers—all of which can be used to unblock barriers to someone’s identity.

How we encounter these every day

Most service providers these days restrict access to their services until or unless users create profiles and share personal data. Apple customers, for instance, cannot access Apple services without a user Id, which includes an email and a credit card.  In a 2017 study published on Quora, Apple ITunes, Amazon and PayPal have been mostly transparent in their pursuit of our trust.  All three combined have amassed 1 billion credit card account numbers, which consumers have voluntarily provided, according to a study published by Quora.  Meantime, nearly half of online shoppers (47 percent) say they’ve increased the frequency of their online purchases over the last year, and 71 percent of merchants say the proportion of their annual sales generated through online and mobile channels increased over the previous year.  (  Payment method statistics Jason Steele May 9, 2019.)

Amazon, meanwhile, gathers information for profiles and uses the information to understand its customer’s preferences based on their behaviors. Using algorithms, they accumulate each user’s search histories, responses to promotions, length of time spent on pages, times of day frequented, speed of decisions, and the triggers to decision making.

Choice for Convenience

While we offer service providers our information in exchange for access to their services, all of us are also making choices based on convenience.  As an example, 42% of online shoppers in a recent survey told researchers they would rather enter their credit card information directly on a provider’s website rather than use a third-party intermediary, such as PayPal and Apple Pay. Yet each of the third-party payment options offers greater degrees of security than a website sponsored by a provider. For many customers, that one extra step is a hassle.