The Digital Trust Factor. Have We Got It All Wrong? 

 April 17, 2024

By  Jane Frankland

When you think about trust in the digital landscape, what comes to mind? Is it the security of personal information, the reliability of online transactions, the authenticity of digital identities? Or is it ISACA’s definition of digital trust as being the confidence in relationships and transactions. Or it is Nobel laureate and economist Kenneth Arrow’s view, as a “lubricant” in a social system? To me, trust encompasses all these aspects and more.

However, as the digital landscape constantly evolves along with new threats to our data and identity, I can’t help but think how much trickier trust is becoming to earn in digital scenarios compared to when you’re dealing with people face-to-face. And as a technologist, this makes me want to ask: how can we make people feel as comfortable and sure about digital interactions as they do in real-life situations where trust is built over time?

You see in the realm of clicks and codes; trust isn’t just important—it’s the bedrock. As technology weaves deeper into our lives, the swift exchange of information has become our reality. Without upholding digital trust, with every click, we not only risk security breaches, fraud and the misuse of our data but one’s own company’s reputation and the very foundation of our business operations.

Here’s the hard truth: Maintaining trust isn’t just an option; it’s a necessity. It’s about creating a digital stronghold where information is both free-flowing, frictionless, and secure. Whether you’re a business safeguarding customer data or an individual protecting your digital footprint, the mission is the same. It’s got to be our responsibility as citizens of the world.

That’s why I’m excited to partner with Mastercard, a globally recognised leader in secure transactions and digital solutions. Trusted by millions, Mastercard’s commitment to pushing boundaries aligns perfectly with my vision of creating a safer, happier and more prosperous planet. With its expertise in providing secure digital transactions across all channels, and its commitment to enhancing the payment experience, Mastercard is at the forefront of safeguarding the trust and integrity of our digital interactions. Whether it’s through its cybersecurity and risk management solutions or Identity capabilities, Mastercard’s innovative technologies and industry standards are creating a secure environment for seamless and trustworthy digital transactions.

In this blog, I’ll be delving into:

  • The need for robust cybersecurity measures
  • Exploring how technological advancements can harmonise with stringent security protocols
  • Spotlighting how Mastercard’s Cyber and Intelligence solutions will help you stay ahead of emerging cyber threats and build trust in your digital operations.

I invite you to join me on a journey to understand the intricacies of secure transactions in our digitised world, where trust and technological innovation converge for a safer, more resilient digital future.

The Need for Trust in the Digital Economy

In today’s interconnected digital economy, trust plays a significant role in shaping consumer behaviour, business transactions, and overall economic growth. Whilst it’s always been a crucial factor in driving economic prosperity, its importance has only grown in recent times.

A report from Deloitte shows that companies considered trustworthy reduce transaction costs, create more room for investment and innovation, and outperform those considered untrustworthy by a factor of 2.5X. Research from the Victoria University of Wellington also supports unrealized potential as they found that higher levels of trust can increase per capita real GDP growth. When individuals and businesses have confidence in their transactions and interactions, they’re more likely to engage in economic activities that drive growth.

The OECD emphasises this relationship too, with trust being viewed as a determinant of economic success, influencing factors like cooperation, collaboration, and the effectiveness of institutions. Strong trust within societies creates an environment conducive to economic development and innovation.

In the realm of business, trust is vital for building strong relationships with customers and other stakeholders. Trustworthy brands are more likely to attract and retain customers, leading to increased sales and market share. Trust also fosters loyalty, customer satisfaction, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations, which are vital for sustained economic success.

However, research by Mastercard and Tufts University’s Fletcher School reveals a new paradox at the heart of society, where rapid innovation promises a new era of prosperity but also risks aggravating trust issues, leading to societal instability and political isolation.

Their study provides insightful analysis into the multifaceted nature of digital trust on a global scale and emphasises that digital trust is a complex concept influenced by various factors, including security, user experience, attitudes, and behaviours. Their research also underscores the correlation between high digital evolution, momentum, and user engagement, signifying the importance of seamless user experiences and consumer willingness to adopt new technologies.

This makes sense, especially considering the relationship between trust, digital transformations and cybersecurity. Over the past four years, since the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve witnessed an unparalleled surge in the dependence on digital transactions, and the relentless evolution of technology since then reshaping our everyday routines. The demand for contactless engagements and remote transactions has propelled individuals, businesses, and governments to wholeheartedly adopt digital platforms. From the realms of finance and e-commerce to the frontiers of telemedicine and online education, the profound impact of this technological shift is reshaping the way we interact and conduct transactions, marking a transformative era in our digital landscape.

While this shift towards digital transactions offers convenience and efficiency, it also brings forth a set of challenges that need to be addressed. One of the primary concerns is the issue of cybersecurity, particularly online fraud and identity theft. With more people making digital payments, sharing personal information, and storing sensitive data online – creating a huge attack surface – cybercriminals have seized every opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities, launch attacks, and financially profit.

This increased reliance on digital interactions has also led to a corresponding increase in online fraud, identity theft, and data breaches in developing economies. Phishing scams, malware attacks, and ransomware incidents have become more prevalent, targeting individuals and organisations alike.

I discussed this with Laura Quevedo, Executive Vice President of Cyber and Intelligence, recently, which you can tune into here.

Mastercard’s Commitment to Trust and Security

Restoring trust in the digital economy is not about eliminating risk – as that’s not entirely possible. Rather, it’s about making better decisions around risk so we understand them better, can prioritise them, and manage them.

That’s what Mastercard is doing with governments, financial institutions and businesses to keep them safe. Through constant innovation and a commitment to stay ahead of the curve, Mastercard can understand the risks, navigate through them, and continually improve how it protects its customers and partners. Building trust through proactive risk management, constant innovation, and pushing the boundaries of what everyone and every business can do is at the core of what Mastercard is all about.

Mastercard’s offerings help banks and merchants accurately identify and decline fraudulent transactions, which in turn protecting businesses’ revenue streams and enable them to make informed risk decisions on every interaction with their customers.

To End…

Trust is the cornerstone of the digital economy, and its importance cannot be overstated. As we navigate an increasingly connected world, the need for secure solutions and protection against online fraud and identity theft becomes paramount. Recent high profile data breaches have shaken consumer trust, emphasising the responsibility companies and ITDMs have in building and maintaining trust with their customers.

Mastercard, as a leading player in the industry, understands the significance of trust in the digital economy. It has made a steadfast commitment to ensuring trust and security through their investment in innovative solutions and technologies, empowering businesses and individuals to navigate the digital landscape with confidence.

As you explore the options available to secure your digital footprint, it’s worthwhile considering Mastercard’s offerings. Its dedication to trust and security sets it apart, and its innovative solutions provide peace of mind in an ever-evolving digital world.

Now I want to hear from you…

Tell me, do you think we’ve approached the digital trust factor from the correct angle?

Let me know about your tips for building trust in the digital economy. Drop me an email or head on over to LinkedIn and join in the discussion there.

Then, head over to Mastercard to learn more about their Cyber and Intelligence solutions.

Finally, in the spirit of full disclosure, please be aware that I’ve received compensation for promoting this for Mastercard. Because your success is important to me, I only align myself with brands I believe in, and Mastercard is one of them.

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Jane frankland


Jane Frankland is a cybersecurity market influencer, award-winning entrepreneur, consultant and speaker. She is the Founder of KnewStart and the IN Security Movement. Having held executive positions within her own companies and several large PLCs, she now provides agile, forward thinking organisations with strategic business solutions. Jane works with leaders of all levels and supports women in male dominated industries like cybersecurity and tech. Her book, IN Security: Why a failure to attract and retain women in cybersecurity is making us all less safe' is a best-seller.


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