ATM-related fraud is the top security concern for consumers in the Southeast Asia (SEA) and Greater China regions, revealed MasterCard's recent study.
Titled MasterCard Safety and Security Index, the study surveyed 6,600 consumers and 100 merchants in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan between January and May 2015. It aims to better understand the payments security landscape, especially with regards to the respondents' concerns about the safety and security of payments, as well as their experience with payment fraud.
Nearly half of Southeast Asian consumers (42 percent) and about a third of the consumers in the Greater China markets (31 percent) were found to be most concerned about stolen ATM cards, card cloning or skimming.
Their next top concern was identity theft in relation to data breaches. This includes personal data such as bank details, personal identification, addresses, and signatures that are stolen or compromised through websites. According to MasterCard, these concerns did not directly stem from consumers' personal experiences but were the result of the perceived severity of fraud based on news reports.
Payments security: Whose responsibility is it?
The study also revealed that banks continue to play a critical role in ensuring payment safety and security for Southeast Asian consumers. Banks are often the first line of defence and recourse for the affected consumer — nearly half of the respondents who experienced ATM fraud first approached their card-issuing banks for advice.
"The fact that most cardholders have a primary relationship with their banks, has an obvious and deep-rooted co-relation to their sentiment, around who they trust most when it comes to ensuring the safety and security of electronic payments. This was emphatically reflected in the feedback from all the markets in Southeast Asia and Greater China," said Ari Sarker, Co-President, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard.
"However, consumers in Singapore in particular, also placed significant trust in the government, which is a natural outcome given the country's strong regulatory environment and overall reputation around safety and security," he added.
Since none of the Southeast Asian respondents said that they trusted local websites, local e-commerce merchants have a lot to do to ensure that they meet global security standards for payments and build consumer confidence on this front, said MasterCard.
In contrast, consumers in Greater China believed that ensuring payments security is part of the merchants' responsibility. As such, 28 percent of the respondents in that region said that they will turn to merchants as their first recourse in seeking resolution for payment safety and security issues. Furthermore, merchants in these markets were instrumental in solving 40 percent of all online electronic payment disputes.
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