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Avoiding Black Friday Blues

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Avoiding Black Friday Blues

Gabe McGloin, Head of International Merchant Sales and Business Development at Verifi

Although the Christmas shopping season starts earlier every year, the transaction frenzy really begins with the sales juggernaut of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to an Adobe Analytics survey, 70% of responding consumers planned to shop over this year’s four-day period beginning the day after Thanksgiving. For the second year in a row, Cyber Monday edged out Black Friday as the “go to” day for online deals, with almost 10%* more respondents preferring Christmas shopping on the one day most workers normally dread.

‘Tis the Season for Big Numbers

As one might expect, the number of online Christmas transactions continues to grow along with the pound volume per transaction, peaking during Black Friday/Cyber Monday. With increasing sales continuing until the following Friday, the term “Cyber Week” is gaining traction. Since Thanksgiving is falling a week later than last year, the shopping during this period is expected to be especially heavy.

Per the Adobe Analytics survey, current sales estimates for the Christmas period, Nov 1 – Dec 31, put digital dollar volume for domestic spending at £110B, with an estimated £7.3B attributed to Cyber Monday alone.

In this whirlwind of Christmas transactions and distractions, you can be sure there’s likely to be a stormy fraud season as well. Add fraud and disputes into the mix of the happiness and merriment, and the hard-earned revenue of the season can be somewhat eclipsed, leaving businesses with a case of the Christmas chargeback blues.

Maintaining Due Diligence in a Transaction Tornado

As a merchant, how can you mitigate fraud risk and provide your best customer experience, while processing many times the transactions of an average day? It’s a delicate balancing act, to say the least. With stringent fraud detection in place, a merchant can still be subject to false-positives and declined valid sales. With loose fraud prevention, merchants can let fraudsters through and soon find themselves in a deluge of disputes and losses.

Historically, many Christmas transactions may come from new customers with no history of patronising your business. Now is the time to shore up your fraud and chargeback prevention program – and even expand your client base in the process.

Multi-Layered Fraud Prevention

Consider these solutions and best practices to ensure risk reduction and help build customer loyalty by providing a secure buying experience.

  • IP intelligence:Deep analysis of the IP Address used for the transaction to monitor possible risks associated with the location
  • Device fingerprinting: Identifies devices that attempt multiple transactions to the same merchant and make it look like they came from different IP addresses
  • Address Verification Service (AVS):Verifies the address connected to the cardholder using a comparison look-up
  • 3D Secure:Uses a three-domain model to validate credit and debit card purchases.
  • Account and card information is replaced with an encrypted, one-time token identifier
  • The location of the cardholder and the customer are compared
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL):Provides a secure encrypted communication between customer devices and websites where sensitive information is input
  • Merchant Co-Op: Transactions are compared against a list of orders, looking for matches with fraudulent accounts
  • Monitor express shipping transactions:Fraudsters exploit this delivery type to receive goods before fraud can be detected.

An Easy Way to Reduce Chargebacks

It’s fair to think many purchases made during this time of the year will be given as gifts. Sometimes the people who receive these gifts can’t use them, or don’t like them, and will want to return them. So, in order to help keep chargebacks from popping up like mushrooms, ensure that your return policy is clearly posted and acknowledged. This will not only reduce disputes but support a hassle-free return experience and maybe garner some new customers.

Return Policy Suggestions

  • Implement a longer return/refund window:Consider using a laxer return/refund policy duration for holiday purchases
  • 24/7 customer service: Maintain extended customer service staffing and hours for the duration of the extended return/refund policy. Encourage customers to contact customer service with any problems
  • Proactive communication: Follow-up with customers who made purchases during the holidays. Remind them of the extended return/refund policy and provide the customer service contact information
  • Wiggle room:Merchants who allow their customer service team to use their best judgement with returns/refunds may experience greater customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. Trust the customer service team to be flexible with the rules when it makes sense – especially if a chargeback is the only other option for the customer
  • Promote your return/refund policy:Merchants would do well to promote their post-holiday return/refund policy just as they promoted their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

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