Report: Consumers Feel Online Shopping Safer than In-Store

July 24, 2014

Report: Consumers Feel Online Shopping Safer than In-Store A new study on global fraud found more consumers believe their financial data is secure during online transactions than during brick-and-mortar transactions. Payments processor ACI Worldwide, which made a splash last week with the acquisition of antifraud technology provider ReD , commissioned Boston-based research firm Aite Group to conduct the poll. Clearly, the breaches this past winter at Target, Michael’s, Sally Beauty and Nieman Marcus have taken their toll. Overall, nearly 30 percent of global consumers do not trust retailers to protect their personal payment information against breaches and hacking attempts.

And, while 55 percent of consumers feel the physical stores where they shop use systems that adequately protect their financial security, 62 percent feel similar confidence in online stores. In the U.S., those numbers are better, but still reflect an opinion that online shopping is currently safer than shopping in stores (62 percent and 77 percent respectively).

The ACI/Aite report said a three-pronged approach can restore consumer confidence in the face of breaches and the resulting fraud: implement a strong security and fraud-prevention strategy, communicate effectively and educate consumers. Also, banks need to step up and help retailers with that process.

“Consumers want to engage in the battle against fraud,” said Shirley Inscoe, senior analyst for Aite Group. “Financial institutions must take a proactive role in not only engaging customers in fraud-alerting activities, but educating them on preventative measures to take to most effectively combat it.”

One facet of the online vs. in-store data was surprising to researchers: that consumers in many countries, not just the U.S., felt more comfortable about the security of their payment information in online retail environments than at physical points of sale.

“I immediately thought in the United States this was not a surprise because of all of the retail data breaches we’ve seen [last year and this year],” Inscoe told “But we saw the same trend in many countries. It’s not unique to the United States that consumers feel this way.”