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Simple & easy-to-use sites 'put shoppers off-guard'

Easy-to-use retail sites can lull consumers into false sense of security, with 79% of shoppers 'trusting' sites that have clear and easy payment instructions, according to new research. Despite this finding, the survey, conducted by, indicates that British consumers are highly vigilant online shoppers in general. A whopping 98 per cent do at least one security check on websites, and over 90 per cent looking at three or more security features, before clicking 'pay'. However, the survey also indicates that almost four fifths of people would trust a site that was easy to use - regardless of its security features. With internet fraud reaching over £290 million in 2007 (source: APACS), consumers have become increasingly vigilant over website security. According to the survey, the most popular checks are:
  • Padlock icon in the web browser (88 per cent)
  • Presence of UK contact address and phone number (85 per cent)
  • Clear refund and returns policy (85 per cent)
  • Logos of reputable payment providers, e.g. Verified by Visa (82 per cent)
  • Customer testimonials (54 per cent)
  • IMRG's Internet Shopping Is Safe logo (50 per cent)
In spite of this heightened security awareness, a worrying proportion of respondents (69 per cent) admitted they could be won over by a well-designed site. The survey indicates that fraudsters could put a large number of consumers off their guard with a simple, easy-to-use site with clear instructions for payment, (79 per cent). The survey also shows that consumers are highly conservative when shopping online, overwhelmingly shunning small online businesses in favour of bigger brands (97 per cent). It suggests that more people would turn to small businesses if clearer guarantees of the security of their payment were visible. The survey supports the launch of, a 'bank-independent' online payments provider, established to level the playing field between small online businesses and blue chip brands. With online retail expected to beat the credit crunch and grow from around 5 per cent of total retail sales today to over 13 per cent by 2012 (source: Verdict Research), the survey suggests that improving payment security could actually lighten the impact of the slowdown, and protect jobs. Alessandro Hatami, managing director of, says: "We have launched to bring the advanced levels of security and data protection expected by blue-chips within easy reach of smaller businesses, so all can offer the same rigorous level of security that their customers now expect. Our promise to consumers is, no matter if you are shopping with a major online retainer or a small online business, if you see the yellow PayPoint shield, you can be sure your card details are safe." James Roper, CEO, Interactive Retail and Marketing Group (IMRG), adds: "It is surprising more people don't gravitate towards smaller businesses, given the very advanced levels of security awareness uncovered by the survey. The paradox is that smaller companies' security may well be better than that of their much larger rivals. We urge consumers to remain vigilant, whilst taking advantage of the better service, wider choice and lower prices which smaller online businesses can offer." was formed following the acquisition of leading online payment providers SECPay and Metacharge. It supports the latest card security standards, such as Verified by Visa and Mastercard SecureCode, and boasts powerful fraud management tools, which together protect consumers' card data and ensure they cannot be misused. Methodology PayPoint commissioned independent market research company Dynamic Markets to interview 2,000 UK adults as a part of a telephone omnibus survey. The sample was screened to survey online shoppers, resulting in a sample of 945 interviews. Fieldwork took place between 13th-19th June 2008. The sample was then demographically weighted to make it representative of the UK population.

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