During the last decade, buying online has become a preferred method of purchasing goods throughout the developed world. The reasons for opting for online purchases instead of going to a “brick-and-mortar” store are many, one of the most quoted being that payment is easier and more secure. This is why we’ll discuss the most secure and user-friendly online payment methods in the 2020.
If you are on the shopping side of the virtual counter, you probably already know how stuff works, and have at least a preferred payment method. Whether it’s a credit/debit card, mobile pay or voucher payment, you have done your homework and you know why your favorite payment method is the most secure and most suitable for your needs… Or do you?
According to research, Millennials and Generation Z are the most informed age groups when it comes to truly understanding how online security and data protection really works. Older generations usually have a very vague idea of these terms and trust their payment providers to a much greater extent when it comes to personal data.
In this article, we’ll give you some valuable info about 2020 trends in online shopping, explain how online payment security works, and which methods are the best.
Know Your Stats
In a survey that covered the shopping habits of four generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials and Gen Z) in brick-and-mortar and online businesses, researchers found a lot of interesting data for retailers. If you have an online store of any kind, this info can be very valuable for 2020 sales tactics.
For example, this survey reported that almost 70% of Millennials and over 50% of Gen Z prefer buying goods online over purchasing in a physical store. This was not much of a surprise to anyone, but some other facts raised a couple of eyebrows. Reportedly, spending money online is almost 30% higher in male population. This might be explained by many factors, one of them being that shopping is somewhat of a social activity to women.
Reasons for online shopping are many and usually pretty obvious. It saves time, there is no need for having cash, no worries about transporting the goods on your own, and no unwanted interactions. In addition to general online shopping, buying through social networks has also become massively popular. The aforementioned survey found that subjects of all age groups are likely to purchase goods through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat
Other useful information to merchants is what consumers actually don’t like about online shopping. 87% of the respondents stated the price as the most influential factor when purchasing online. With this in mind, online sales, specials, and bundles are always a good idea to promote your e-commerce and motivate customers. In the second place, not far behind the price, is the cost of the shipping. 80% of the subjects reported that the shipping cost is a deciding factor. Furthermore, almost 70% of respondents said that they abandoned their online purchase solely because of the shipping costs.
Finally, what are the consumers’ favorite payment methods? This question is not so easy to answer, but speaking in general, the more options you can offer, the better. While credit cards are still the most popular payment method overall, we can see that e-wallets are gaining a lot of popularity among the younger generation.
This trend is expected to continue as Millenials and Gen Z have few trust issues with new online stores popping up on Instagram and other platforms, and are equally comfortable with one-to-one transactions. Gen X and Baby Boomers prefer to have a more traditional buying experience, preferably including a middleman. It’s all about how people perceive trustworthy transactions and what they are used to.
Security and Personal Data Collection
Security and personal data collection is one of the most important issues when it comes to online payments. There is no easy way to fully educate people on this topic, since there is much more involved than an average Joe can even imagine.
You might think you are safe behind the curtain of anonymity because you’re using secure payment systems, but are you doing so over Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest? These sites also collect personal data and a lot of it. How is it shared and with whom? For what purpose? The questions are many, and the answers from the companies are usually very vague.
The amount of data social networks collect is infamous. We all know that Facebook knows more about each and every one of us that we probably know about ourselves – and they are willing to sell it, but this is not the main issue. What really makes your personal data vulnerable is the third-party factor. Whether you’re into Candy Crush or want to connect your Facebook account to Uber, keep in mind that these companies have their own privacy policies. Unless you really, really read before you hit that “Agree” button, you can’t know what personal data you are complying to share and to who it will be shared with.
Services like PayPal, Skrill, and Payoneer collect personal data, device info, and geolocation info as well as consumer habits. All this information can be shared within the corporation or with third parties for business purposes. On the other hand, all reputable e-wallets have high-level fraud protection. Regarding security, the same goes as for the social networks – your info is only as secure as the service itself.
While mobile wallets are considered very secure as the consumer can set multiple layers of protection, there is a significant amount of information that is shared and sold to third parties or used within the company itself. Yes, your personal information such as name, address, and credit card details are pretty safe, but data such as consumer habits is very trackable and transparent.
Credit Cards and Debit Cards
The security of payment by credit cards and debit cards depends largely on you. Always shop from a trusted network, keep your eyes open for phishing scams, and make sure that e-commerce websites you buy from have data encryption protocols. It’s always safer not to save your credit card info on a site, but even this is becoming a non-issue with multiple layers of protection and secure payment gateways.
Also known as e-vouchers, this payment solution has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Depending on the card provider, you might or might not have to leave your personal info with voucher cards. With this payment method, you “charge” your card with a certain amount of money each time you run out of the funds, and every charge comes with its digital code that you use when paying online. The payment can then be made while keeping your anonymity online.
Most Secure Online Payment Methods
Keeping in mind that everyone has a different taste in types of payment methods, we made a list of the most secure online payment method alternatives currently available.
- PayPal offers payments through the account itself or by using cards linked to the said account. This giant among digital wallets is considered very secure and stable. This service is used worldwide and accepted as a payment service by virtually all e-commerce merchants.
- Dwolla is an alternative payment method to PayPal, but with a smaller audience. It has competitive fees, where transactions less than $10 are not charged, and transactions greater than $10 are charged $0.25.
- 2Checkout is an ingenious service that merges the payment gateway and the merchant account making the process of payment very secure and intuitive. It allows users to receive both credit card payments and PayPal transactions. The payments are international, but 2Checkout charges a small fee for each transaction and a monthly service fee for merchants.
- Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards have always been considered very secure and trustworthy. However, there is always concern about identity theft since these cards are directly connected to your bank account.
If you plan on using your cards directly and not through a mobile wallet or a digital wallet service, make sure to share your credit card information only with trusted sites and vendors.
Neosurf is a service that offers digital vouchers. This method doesn’t require any of your personal or banking information for online purchases. Neosurf offers its own card that can be charged by purchasing vouchers ($10 to $200 in value) or through bank transfers and SEPA.
When paying online, you need to put in a 10-digit PIN code to authorize the transaction. The PIN code is only valuable for one voucher charge but can be used multiple times until the money is spent. There are no transaction fees, only a 2% conversion fee.
This mobile wallet is a cross-platform service (supported by iOS, Android, and even Facebook). It has some very cool features like splitting checks, making payments using PayPal, and transferring money to a bank account. It charges the standard 3% fee per transaction.
Security and personal data sharing are big concerns in this day and age. Although newer generations are reportedly not as concerned about data collection (maybe because they are so used to being under the magnifying glass of social networks at all times), it should be noted that precautions should always be made to avoid data abuse. When it comes to money, privacy is rarely a commodity. Always do your homework and keep your eyes open, because scams evolve as fast as our means of preventing them.