The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai and global payments technology company Visa launched the second annual UAE Card Security Week to promote safe online shopping habits and help protect consumers against payment-related frauds.
According to Finextra, the week’s theme is staying safe when shopping online, with Visa and DED surveying consumers across the UAE to understand their experiences, attitudes and behaviors regarding eCommerce.
“With the country’s eCommerce sector growing rapidly, UAE Card Security Week is an important and timely opportunity to educate shoppers about staying safe online,” said Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection, DED. “This study highlights the many opportunities that have been realized, while also identifying a number of challenges that still lie ahead. In particular, the sector’s continued growth now depends on the quality of the customer experience and the security of their transactions being maintained despite ever-increasing volumes of activity.”
The study found that 56 percent of UAE consumers are now frequent online shoppers, making purchases at least once a week, compared with 39 percent last year. The UAE’s eCommerce sector is seeing significant growth across nearly all categories: Travel and entertainment and utilities remain vital categories, while movie tickets (up 18 percent), restaurant orders (up 17 percent) and groceries (up 16 percent) all saw major growth over the last year.
Of course, security while shopping online is a top priority, with the study finding that the more consumers use their cards, the more secure they feel. And the occurrence of payment card fraud is actually relatively low at 14 percent, in line with last year (15 percent).
Yet the survey identified some reluctance to pay electronically for certain goods and services online, with about one-third of respondents saying they want to see the product first-hand before making payment. The study suggests that one of the keys to expanding the eCommerce sector is for merchants to offer a clear refund or replacement policy, while additional discounts and rewards would also influence 85 percent of respondents to pay electronically.
During the program, Visa encourages online shoppers to take measures to protect their card when shopping online, such as not sending their card number and CVV by email or phone, avoiding unfamiliar websites, not entering card details on suspicious promotions, and activating tools like Verified by Visa (VbV), an authentication tool that ensures payments are made by the rightful owner of the Visa account.
“UAE Card Security Week is a key component of Visa’s ongoing efforts to support governments across the world move to cashless societies and achieve their visions of creating smart cities, and builds on similar initiatives around the world,” said Neil Fernandes, Head of Risk at Visa Middle East and North Africa. “This year, Visa will launch similar initiatives in three other countries in the Middle East and North Africa as part of its work to develop the region’s electronic payments landscape.”