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Online security for SMEs – looking out for what businesses don’t want to see

Article by Mastercard

While online shopping has been a growing phenomenon globally, it has also been making its mark locally. Since the onset of the pandemic, 68% of South African consumers are shopping more online according to a recent Mastercard e-commerce study. Consumers are not only shopping online, but are supporting their favourite local small businesses, with 63% of respondents saying that they are making a conscious effort to shop online at these stores.

The ease of home delivery, as well as the convenience of price comparison and bargain hunting, guides online purchasing decisions for consumers with reliable internet connections. While the popularity of online shopping accelerates, scammers and criminals also stay alert for opportunities. In the same way consumers stay alert in real life, it’s important that they stay attentive and avoid being targeted when shopping online as well.

Consumers want to shop online. However, they are increasingly looking to online retailers and the payments industry to deliver on the promise of e-commerce as a truly secure environment to transact in. A recent Mastercard e-commerce study highlights that 64% of South Africans say that a secure checkout experience is a key consideration when deciding to shop online. Other key considerations include convenience such as easy return policies and faster checkout experiences.

At Mastercard, we focused on a number of cutting-edge AI-powered tools to help us stay ahead of fraudsters and protect the digital ecosystem. Our role is to anticipate future fraud schemes and guard against them, ensure the true identity of online shoppers, and design systems that fight theft before it occurs. 

Mastercard delivers programmes that enable us to both watch and listen for fraud, and to proactively combat the risks of website hacking. Yet, we can’t fight this battle alone. The provision of safe and secure e-commerce platforms is critical. Fortunately, defending yourselves and your customers has never been easier. 

Safeguard data

E-commerce retailers work with a great deal of cardholder account data. To ensure their customer’s data is protected, Mastercard, along with our industry colleagues, developed the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI  DSS). To help acquirers, retailers and service providers achieve compliance with this critical standard, Mastercard offers the Site Data Protection Program (SDP). The Program details the data security and compliance validation requirements to protect stored and transmitted Mastercard payment account data.

Simplify payments

In an effort to protect consumers and increase convenience when storing Mastercard cards in merchant databases, Mastercard introduced tokenization services for merchants, a security measure to protect, speed up and simplify online and in-app Mastercard card purchases, as well as subscription-based and recurring payments like streaming music, video services and utility bills.

It’s an exciting yet challenging time for South Africa’s online retailers. Our technology has transformed the way that commerce is done today, but more importantly, it has also made it extremely secure.

Mastercard is a proud Partner of the NSBC