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SCMP Thursday, November 16, 2000


Security fears hold back Net shoppers

Internet users are still shying away from making and paying for purchases on the Web because of security concerns, according to a council study.
The survey of 1,000 Internet users showed that while almost 13 per cent had bought products via the Internet, uncertainty over payment security was one of the main factors holding them back.
Some of the latest payment options available to online shoppers include virtual credit card, multi-purpose smart card, payment aggregator, prepaid e-coupon, and online-offline solution.
The council advises that, where a service is based on a personal identification number, shoppers should choose a Pin that is difficult to guess and to guard it. Users are also advised not to buy using computers in public places.
"In the case of a virtual credit card, don't divulge your card number to anyone," said Dr Michael Tsui Fuk-sun, of the council's Publicity and Community Relations Committee. "E-shoppers should also check statements as soon as they receive them to check for any payments not made by them," he said.
All of the payment service providers surveyed by the council have established departments with the sole task of dealing with complaints.
While some guarantee that customers will not be liable for payment of items which are the result of theft, negligence on the part of the cardholder might render the guarantee invalid.
Of the virtual credit card suppliers, Bank of East Asia's CyberCard, Dao Heng Internet Shopping Account and Dah Sing Cyber Credit Card offer outright guarantees that shoppers will not be liable for unauthorised transactions, while BOC Group's Intown Cybercard and Hang Seng's E-shopping Mastercard say "it depends".