Wednesday 16 November 2016 7:00 am

Tesco Bank's perception goes into the red after security breach

Last week, news broke of a security breach which compromised the accounts of Tesco Bank customers. It was reported that £2.5m had been stolen from 9,000 customer accounts, with the worst affected losing up to £1,500.

In the immediate aftermath, the company suspended online and contactless transactions.

YouGov brand tracking data shows us how the scandal has impacted perception of Tesco Bank, among both the general public and current customers.

Among all respondents, Tesco Bank’s Buzz score (whether someone has heard something positive or negative about the brand in the previous fortnight) shows how many people have heard adverse stories about the brand around the breach. In the last seven days, its score has dropped to minus 37.

As a result, over the past week the bank’s Impression score (whether someone has a favourable impression of the brand) has plummeted. It was hovering around the zero points mark before the crisis but has now declined to minus 22. Among current customers, the situation is even worse, with the score falling by 37 points.

Quite understandably, Tesco Bank customers have every reason to be perturbed by the hack. Certainly, they don’t currently talk about the brand in a positive light. Its Recommend score (whether someone would recommend the bank to a friend or colleague) has dropped by 11 points since the story broke.

Read more: Sales at Tesco are growing at their fastest rate in three years

Naturally, Tesco bosses may be concerned about reputational damage spreading to the supermarket. Several metrics have shown a slight decrease – its Buzz score dropped by five points for example. It may well emerge from the crisis relatively unscathed however, due to the far stronger sense of brand identity consumers feel with the retail arm of the business.

The issue of cyber security has gained extra prominence in recent years, with similar incidents impacting brands such as TalkTalk. However, this incident is altogether more serious – and will raise questions in the minds of consumers about how well prepared major corporations are against the threat of cyber-crime.

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