Most people nowadays shop online. It’s easier, it’s convenient and it’s quicker. However, this requires every purchase made to be card not present transactions or a CNP.
Card not present transactions is when the cardholder is not able to physically show the card to the seller. Credit card fraud is unfortunately made fairly easy when purchases are being made online because there is no way for the seller to truly identify that the person on the internet or on the phone is really who they say they are. While there are more than 278 million visa cards in the United States alon (and more than 522 million in the rest of the world) trying to find a better way to secure debit and credit cards is proving difficult. Card not present fraud protection is definitely something that is always being bettered and improved, hence the security codes on the cards, but it can never be completely eliminated. Most sites have secure payment options which has helped immensely, although 60% of online shoppers are still concerned about fraud.
Despite the risk, online shopping is growing in popularity very quickly. Online sales are predicted to go from $231 billion in 2012 to $370 billion by the year 2017 according to a Forester Research survey. As mentioned above, this is hardly surprising considering how simple and quick online shopping can be.
Another couple of downfalls of online shopping besides having to always have card not present transactions are,
- Shipping. Shipping can really get you. Many consumers will not buy a product if the seller is not offering free shipping. Others will not buy if the shipping time takes too long. Most sellers on the internet are true to their word about sending out items on time, but it is not always a guarantee which can make shopping for things like Christmas and birthdays difficult.
- Returns are the other place where things can go wrong. You must always make sure a vendor is willing to accept returns in the first place and then find you if they would send you a free label to return, send you a label and take the cost of shipping and restocking out of your return amount or if you have to pay shipping yourself. For the most part vendors choose the later two options.
Other than the three negative aspects I mentioned here, shopping online can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. You can find things that are very specific to what you are looking for without having to traipse around 59 different stores, tiring yourself and possibly your children out, looking for the specific tea kettle your mother in law wanted. After thousands upon thousands of stores at your fingertips can be very tempting despite the drawbacks.
Now, which do you prefer? The ease of shopping online in the quiet and comfort of your own home or do you like the hustle and bustle of community shopping out with everyone? See this reference for more.