54% of Asian consumers still wary of online shopping

By Anjo Almario, Business Mirror

Posted at May 04 2011 07:43 AM | Updated as of May 04 2011 03:43 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Online security remains a big issue for consumers, according to a recent survey, which showed that 54 percent of consumers do not shop online because they are unsure if it is secure or safe to make transactions.

In spite of a 46-percent year-on-year growth in e-commerce transactions in 2010 in Southeast and South Asia markets, the survey done by credit-card giant MasterCard felt the need to launch provide a safer and more secure solution to its cardholders by giving them the ability to create temporary online shopping card numbers for use only when they want to make purchases online.

With the service called “inControl,” MasterCard cardholders are also able to determine the maximum spend per online shopping card number, limiting their online exposure.

A separate MasterCard survey conducted by Harris Interactive between December 2010 and January 2011 showed that consumers in Southeast and South Asia are keenly interested in services that would give them greater flexibility in managing their spending on payment cards.

Of the 2,416 respondents surveyed in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and India, 82 percent expressed excitement in such a service, and 65 percent said they are likely to sign up for the service when it is available.

Forty-four percent affirmed that they would switch to a payment card that provides such a service if their current cards did not offer it, while 77 percent said they would use their payment card more frequently, if such a service were available.

Respondents cited the ability to monitor and control expenses in a manner customized to their lifestyles, and a greater sense of security for using payment cards as the main reasons they would welcome the service.

Leveraging the research insights, MasterCard is working with financial institutions to progressively roll out the new service across markets in Southeast and South Asia later this year.

MasterCard inControl is an innovative Web-based solution that will give cardholders flexibility in setting spending controls and receive real-time information on their MasterCard cards in several ways.

First, cardholders can potentially set budgets for particular types of spending and manage exactly where, when, how and for what types of purchases their own and their dependents’ MasterCard cards may be used. The top three control features that generated the most consumer interest are the maximum spend per month, spend per purchase and by merchant types.

In addition to receiving alerts when a transaction is declined (which is already available in the market today), cardholders will be able to set their own criteria for alerts, including real-time alerts for when spend approaches a pre-defined budget limit, and when there were attempts to make unauthorized transactions.

Cardholders can easily generate transaction reports to track their spending.

MasterCard inControl will be available not just to manage expenses for the family, but also to businesses to manage their business purchases and expenses.

“MasterCard inControl empowers consumers to take a more proactive and personalized approach to managing their accounts. We are pleased to be the first in the payments industry to launch this innovative tool across Southeast and South Asia,” said David Chan, MasterCard Worldwide Southeast and South Asia Customer Delivery head.

“InControl will give consumers and businesses more choices, greater control and added security when managing their finances,” he added.