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FinTech Catalyst Incubator: Spartacus

Through a partnership with TruStage Ventures, Filene Research Institute continues the work of the FinTech Catalyst Incubator to test promising concepts that could make a difference in the credit union marketplace. In this report we analyze the desirability and feasibility of Spartacus and if it can help consumers protect their privacy and prevent identity theft.

Executive Summary

In 2019, there were over 3.2M consumer reports related to fraud and identity theft. 33% of U.S. adults have experienced identity theft, twice the global average. 1 in 10 people report a median financial loss of $700 due to imposter scams.

Spartacus focuses on helping consumers protect their privacy and prevent identity theft. A free privacy risk score shows how vulnerable they are to having their identity stolen. Additionally, Spartacus provides ongoing service to remove personal data, alerts consumers of exposed passwords, and access to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services. 

What is the research about?

Cybersecurity and consumer protections are primary concerns of credit unions. Anyone who uses the internet to input sensitive information is at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud. Once victimized by identity theft, individuals spend an average of 30+ hours recovering their identity.

Common themes around data security include fears about hacking, identity theft, and recent high-profile data breaches causing credit unions to potentially face major reputational risks. This has prompted them to align cybersecurity efforts with their organizational strategy and budget.

Filene examined Spartacus with a small group of innovative minded credit union leaders to quickly gauge desirability, feasibility, and viability for credit unions to protect their members’ privacy and data. Upon entering a valid email address consumers receive a free privacy risk score on how vulnerable they are to having their identity stolen. Spartacus also provides ongoing services to remove personal data from data broker websites, alerts consumers of exposed passwords and offers access to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services packaged within an annual subscription plan.

What are the credit union implications? 

While most credit union leaders felt it would not be a significant driver of new membership, the group unanimously agreed Spartacus would be a valuable member benefit or service.

Based on credit union leader feedback, Spartacus can:

  • Serve as an easy entry point if credit unions do not currently offer data privacy and protection services.
  • Be a proactive educational tool for members to protect their privacy data while indirectly mitigating security risks at the credit union (e.g., minimizing exposed member passwords).
  • Demonstrate a credit union’s commitment to their members’ privacy, security, and success by actively investing in value added services and privacy education.

Filene thanks TruStage Ventures for making this research possible.

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