Global payments technology company Visa, in partnership with the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), launched the first Egypt Card Security Week. The theme of the week is staying safe when shopping online, which highlights the work of both organisations to protect consumers against different types of payment-related fraud and to support the growth of Egypt’s e-commerce sector.
“As we look to maintain this momentum, it is important that we proactively address any issues and concerns consumers may have about this emerging sector of the economy,” he added.
Al Wakeel noted that this is why FEDCOC is pleased to work with Visa to launch the first-ever Egypt Card Security Week, which is believed to be capable of playing an important role in growing the interlinked digital payments and commerce ecosystems.
Khalil Hassan Khalil, digital economy and technology general division chairperson at FEDOC, pointed out that the growth of e-commerce in Egypt is essential for innovation, job creation, and financial inclusion.
“If we are to focus on the development of this market, then it is equally important to promote responsible online shopping among consumers. We support Visa in this commendable initiative and hope to reach out to the online shoppers in the country with efficient yet simple self-protection measures, so that they can enjoy a seamless and secure digital payment experience,” he added.
To help promote a safe and secure payment ecosystem, Visa and FEDCOC surveyed consumers across Egypt to understand their experiences, attitudes, and behaviours regarding e-commerce and card payments.
The Visa commissioned survey found that over half of the people in Egypt (53%) are frequent online shoppers, with one in ten using e-commerce sites almost every day. However, with 47% of people shopping online every 2-3 weeks or less, there is a huge opportunity for further expansion of the sector over the coming years.
Consumer goods are driving the popularity of online shopping, with electronics (64%), clothing (44%), personal grooming products (34%), and books (33%) being far up of the top ten goods and services most commonly purchased online. Travel and entertainment is the other main driver, with flights and hotels purchased online by more than 40% of people.
The survey identified reluctance among some consumers to pay electronically for certain goods and services they buy online. For all product categories surveyed, there is a 3-13% difference between consumers buying and paying for goods and services online, with the trend particularly popular with electronics, personal grooming, clothes/apparels, and restaurant orders. This discrepancy creates unnecessary friction in the system.
Payments by card and cash on delivery (both 69%) are equally common methods for paying online in Egypt. The security of transactions when using payment cards online is important to the overwhelming majority of people (81%). Many payment card users (52%) are comfortable using digital payments on e-commerce sites, while non-users (23%), are more apprehensive. This suggests that the more consumers use their cards, the more secure they feel.
The survey found that when consumers are alert while shopping online, the reported incidence of card fraud is actually relatively low (at 15%). However, older people seem to have been slightly more affected, with 20% of 46-55-year-olds saying they have been a victim of payment card fraud before, compared to 12% of 18-25-year-olds. This could suggest that the generation that has grown up in a digital world is potentially more aware of the risks, according to Visa’s survey report.
More than a third of the respondents (42%) say a barrier to them when paying by card online is that they want to see the product firsthand before paying, while the same number choose cash on delivery because it assures the product will arrive.
Consumer anxiety about shopping online are exacerbated by concerns about unfamiliar websites, with only 30% reporting that they would shop from sites they do not know.
The study suggests that one of the keys to expanding the e-commerce sector and increasing the use of digital payments is for merchants to offer better websites, stronger data protection and a smoother refund or replacement policy. More discounts and rewards would also influence 67% of respondents to pay electronically when shopping online.
Visa encourages online shoppers to take measures to protect their cards when shopping online. For instance, by not sending their card number and CVV by email or phone, by avoiding unfamiliar websites, by not entering card details on suspicious promotions that seem too good to be true, and by activating tools like Verified by Visa (VbV), which is an authentication tool that ensures payments are made by the rightful owner of the Visa account.
Tarek Mahfouz, country manager of Egypt at Visa, said that with consumers in Egypt increasingly transacting digitally, the need to build and maintain trust in the sector becomes imperative. He added that there is nothing more important to the Visa payment network than trust, so to overcome consumer concerns and unlock Egypt’s full e-commerce potential, Visa advocates a multi-layered security approach to tackling fraud, with the cardholders being an integral part of the solution.
“Equally, there are a number of relatively simple steps merchants can take to build further trust in the online shopping experience. We believe the first Egypt Card Security Week is an opportunity to achieve both,” he stressed.
An important part of Visa’s multi-layered approach is Visa Token Service, which replaces the traditional 16-digit primary account number (PAN) with a digital “token” for online purchases and transactions initiated with mobile devices. Visa is working to bring tokenisation to e-commerce, which will provide added security to online transactions by removing cardholders information from the merchant environment.
Egypt Card Security Week is a key component of Visa’s ongoing efforts to support governments across the world move to cashless societies and achieve their visions of creating smart cities, and build on similar initiatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and South Africa.