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Payment security vital as digital commerce resets in post-pandemic world

By Shannon Williams
Thu 27 May 2021

Robust payment security is vital in a changing commerce environment as digital commerce is reset in post-pandemic world, according to Visa.

Addressing more than 1,500 partners and clients in its first virtual edition of the Asia Pacific Visa Security Summit last week, Visa stressed the need for robust payment experiences in a changing commerce environment, as it set its focus on strengthening payments security as consumer behaviour evolves during the pandemic. 

Visa has charted consumer behaviour changes along three trends pervasive in Asia Pacific - contactless payments are becoming a health and safety priority, on-demand eCommerce experiences have heightened expectations of quality and speed of service, and lines between eCommerce and physical buying have been blurred. 

As a result, fraud has migrated from traditional to digital commerce and Visa is urging the industry to take proactive steps to tackle them. 

"The pandemic has greatly accelerated changes in consumer behaviour, commerce and hence digital payments," says Joe Cunningham, Regional Risk Officer, Asia Pacific, Visa. 

"We believe these patterns are here to stay and many first-time digital consumers will decide where to shop based on whether they trust the seller or not," he says.

"As digital commerce becomes mainstream, payment security is a fundamental driver of trust so the industry must deliver on consumers' expectations of safe, convenient and fast payment experiences." 

According to Visa, the trends in commerce resulting from the pandemic point to new ways in how consumers shop and transact:
1. Contactless payments - As consumers prioritise health and safety, the spotlight will focus on contactless payments and tap to pay infrastructure. In Asia Pacific, one in two face to face Visa transactions are now contactless. Visa expects contactless payments to replace cash and become the preferred payment method for businesses and consumers. 

2. On-demand eCommerce experiences - Shoppers expect products and services to be available when they want and where they want. This will require faster, smoother and more convenient buying and payment experiences. 

3. Blurring of lines between eCommerce and physical buying - Visa data shows that excluding travel, global eCommerce payment credentials grew over 20% in the last quarter versus last year, while eCommerce payments volume averaged at least 30% growth in India and Singapore over the last three quarters. This shift is likely to persist as eCommerce growth continues to be robust even as consumers begin to return to stores. 

In dealing with the risk of fraud, Visa has introduced solutions without tipping the balance between payment security and customer convenience. Visa Secure, which uses the latest standards of the EMV(R) 3-D Secure protocol, adds a layer of fraud defence so financial institutions and sellers can be confident that transactions are genuine. 

This potentially reduces lost sales for sellers because of declined payments and improves the overall consumer shopping experience. Visa Token Service (VTS) turns sensitive payment data like card numbers and account details into randomised tokens, thus devaluing data and rendering it useless for fraudsters even if stolen.

Data for the US shows that tokens can reduce fraud by 26% on average compared to online card transactions where consumers enter their card details for making payments. With VTS, Visa took more than five years to issue 1.4 billion tokens worldwide but has now crossed the 2 billion mark in just 10 months. VTS is now one of the largest payments security platforms in the market offering data protection while reducing unnecessary form filling steps for consumers. 

Emphasising the widespread need to adopt payment security solutions based on industry standards, Joe Cunningham adds, "Fraudsters evolve their methods faster than consumers and most businesses can prepare for. 

"To stay ahead of the curve, the payments ecosystem must buttress existing infrastructure with enhanced and trusted fraud management solutions," he says.

"In an increasingly digital world, payments security is crucial for consumer trust and must be the foundation of business and commerce, now and in the future." 

The 2021 Asia Pacific Visa Security Summit is one of the largest payment security events in the region. Held from 18 to 21 May 2021, it brought together leading risk professionals to share learnings and best practices on payment security innovation. 

The Summit addressed some of the key changes witnessed since last year, particularly on consumer behaviour patterns and the readiness of businesses to cater to these changes. It focused on the risks arising from a new commerce landscape and the measures that players must take to safeguard their businesses and their consumers. 

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