Brits have irrational fear of online shopping

Despite the growing popularity of the Internet and e-commerce, almost half of the UK's Internet users are still too worried about online security to take the plunge and begin shopping online, according to research from Visa Europe.

According to the survey, almost 70 per cent of UK Internet users believe it is unsafe to use a credit card online, whilst around 40 per cent have an “irrational fear” of the Internet.

Almost 15 per cent claim to know of someone who has had their credit card details misused online.

Web users suggested that this fear could be overcome with better protection and increased security. In fact, 58 per cent think that online shopping could be safer and would shop more online if it were.

Even existing online shoppers indicated that they have concerns about the safety of e-commerce, with one in five only buying over the Internet as a last resort.

According to the survey, although most Internet users have made at least one online purchase, 69 percent of users didn't think online retailers were doing enough to make users feel safe.

Clearly, the survey's results indicate that both Barclaycard and Visa needed to strengthen the security of credit card transactions in order to persuade more people to shop online.

This could be because entering credit card details online feels like "a dangerous public disclosure" according to Dr Cynthia McVey, a psychologist at Glasgow University.

“People need to be reassured that safeguards are in place and that the card providers continuously monitor the situation and understand their fears. The anxieties arise from the feeling we're not as intimately involved in the purchase as we are when standing at the counter," said McVey.

The survey was carried out to promote Verified by Visa - a new password-protected online payment card system, which aims to guarantee cardholder identity when shopping online - similar to using a signature on the high street.

Sources: The Register, VNUNet, ZDNet UK

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