Consumers across Southeast Asia and Greater China feel safer paying in a brick and mortar environment as opposed to online; sole exception is China

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Singapore, 20 August 2015 – According to the inaugural MasterCard Safety and Security Index™, consumers across Southeast Asia and Greater China cited identity theft and ATM-related fraud as the top two security concerns when it comes to electronic payments.

42 percent of consumers in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore Thailand, and Vietnam) were most concerned with ATM-related fraud such as a stolen card, card cloning or skimming. In the Greater China markets (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), this figure was 31%.

Consumers across Southeast Asia (35%) and Greater China (32%) were almost as equally concerned about identity theft in relation to data breaches. This includes personal data such as bank details, personal IDs, addresses, and signatures that are stolen or compromised through websites. In both regions however, it appears that these concerns do not directly stem from consumers’ own personal experiences but rather, as a result of the perceived severity of fraud based on what was reported in the media.

The Index also showed that in general, consumers across Southeast Asia, and the markets of Taiwan and Hong Kong still feel safer paying in a brick and mortar environment as opposed to online. In this regard however, China differed, being the only market where consumers felt paying online was safer than in an actual brick and mortar store; even more so than in Singapore (see Figure 1).

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Figure 1: Percentage of Consumers who feel Very Safe Making Electronic Payments

When looking at online payments, almost every consumer in the Greater China markets had made an online payment in the past year. Consumers in China (62%) particularly favored the use of digital wallets in online electronic payments over those in Hong Kong (14%) and Taiwan (29%).

Meanwhile, the Index also reinforced that banks continue to play a critical role in ensuring payment safety and security for consumers in Southeast Asia. This is both, because of the high levels of trust consumers place in banks as well as the reliance that consumers have on banks to help them resolve issues that crop up in this area. Banks are often the first line of defense and recourse for the affected consumer – nearly half of all consumers in Southeast Asia 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. However, in Singapore in particular, in addition to banks, consumers 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,” said Ari Sarker, Co-President, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard.

None of the respondents surveyed in Southeast Asia placed any trust in local websites, suggesting that there is still a lot of work to be done by local ecommerce merchants to ensure that they meet global security standards for payments and build consumer confidence on this front.

In Greater China aside from banks and governments, merchants were also seen to have a growing responsibility in ensuring payment safety and security, with 28% of consumers in these markets going 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% of all online electronic payment disputes.

Working Together to Fight Fraud

These and other key findings of the MasterCard Safety and Security Index™ will be discussed at the MasterCard Global Risk Leadership conference in Singapore on August 26 & 27, 2015. The 20th edition of this conference will gather global payment risk leaders to share best practices in fighting fraud together, as an industry. The conference demonstrates MasterCard’s commitment in helping partners and customers fight fraud using the latest tools, processes, and technologies so there is no one weak link in the payments ecosystem.

“The Conference demonstrates MasterCard’s commitment in helping partners and customers fight fraud using the latest tools, processes, and technologies so there is no weak link in the payments ecosystem. Let’s combat fraud cohesively and build a safer payment environment for all through forging closer ties and sharing best practices,” Sarker concluded.

With cybercrime front and center on the agenda, the conference will explore ways to mitigate global fraud with discussions around digital convergence and payments innovation, the evolution of authentication and biometrics technology, the importance of information security in defending internal networks, data privacy and partnerships with law enforcers. The Global Risk Leadership conference was last held in this region in August 2014, in Malaysia.

Note to Editors:

A survey in relation to the Index was carried out across in six markets in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) as well as three markets in Greater China (China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan). A total of 6,600 consumers and 900 merchants were polled online and face-to-face between January and May 2015 on questions relating to the payments security landscape, payments in brick and mortar and online, safety and security payment concerns and experience with payment fraud, among others.

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About MasterCard
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Media contacts
Venture Liang, MasterCard, +65 6390 5973, venture_liang@mastercard.com
Alina Morais, Weber Shandwick, +65 6825 8203, amorais@webershandwick.com