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Fraud fears rise as cashless society nears

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Fraud fears rise as cashless society nears

New findings from Osborne Clarke reveal concerns over data privacy and security are rising, despite a reduction in the use of cash across UK

·81% of UK consumers worry about fraud in a cashless society an eight percentage point increase on the year before
· Over three quarters of UK consumers (79%) worry they would share too much data if cash were to be completely replaced by mobile payments
· UK identified as the European country most open to using biometric technology to verify individuals identity

London, UK – 11th April 2018. Despite well-reported reductions in the use of cash across the country, new research from international legal practice, Osborne Clarke, today reveals that UK consumers are now more concerned than they were a year ago about incidents of fraud and security breaches should mobile payments completely replace cash in the future.

UK consumers have open been to using alternative payment methods to cash for a number of years, to the point whereby card payments replaced cash as the number one payment method in 2016. Figures from UK Finance also predict that sales made using notes and coins will fall from 40% to just 21% by 2026. Yet, new findings from Osborne Clarke reveal that rising concerns over data security and privacy could hinder the reality of a completely cashless society.

Fear of the fraudsters

Eight in 10 (81%) of UK consumers say they are worried about fraud should mobile payments completely replace cash – an eight percentage point increase on the year before. 83% were also concerned over security breaches.

Nikki Worden, Partner at Osborne Clarke, said: “For many UK consumers, the convenience of cashless payments has often outweighed the security risks. However, the large number of high-profile customer data breaches reported in the news has caused concerns to grow.

“As we head towards a cashless society, more thorough security checks have to be in place to address these fears. The implementation of strong customer authentication – as required by PSD2 – will help make it harder for fraudsters and hackers to take funds from accounts that are linked to electronic devices. But businesses also need to ensure they take the necessary steps to properly protect consumer data and demonstrate cyber resilience in order to boost levels of consumer trust.”

Verifying identities

One of the main aims of PSD2 is to better protect customers against fraud. Under the directive (which was implemented in the UK in January 2018), from September 2019, an account holder will need to show two out of the three elements of possession (e.g. holding a payment card), knowledge (e.g. a password or PIN) and being to verify his or her identity when accessing an account and making payments (i.e. he or she will have to pass a biometric test).

Osborne Clarke’s research found that UK consumers are the most comfortable with using biometric identity technology, compared to those in other European countries. Two thirds of UK consumers (66%) are comfortable with fingerprint scanning as a method to identify themselves on a mobile device, compared to just 53% of Germans.

Furthermore, two in five UK respondents (43%) would be comfortable using iris scanning to verify their identity, while 24% would be comfortable using voice recognition.

Worden continues: “Biometric identity technologies play an important role in fighting incidents of fraud in digital payments. While some consumers are still apprehensive about voice recognition, you can see how widely accepted fingerprint scanning has become since it was introduced to verify identities on smartphones. As other biometric technologies become a standard feature on connected and mobile devices, consumer acceptance in this area will only continue to grow.”

Too much information?

In addition to fears over fraud and security breaches, Osborne Clarke also found that over three quarters of UK consumers (79%) are also concerned about sharing too much personal data should cashless payments become the only method of payment in the future – a 22 percentage point increase on the year before.

“UK consumers are clearly becoming more aware of the amount of data they are sharing with organisations and are increasingly questioning how it will be used,” says Worden. “The impending General Data Protection Regulation will certainly better protect individuals’ personal data and increase data transparency to help curb these concerns. However, businesses also need to understand the responsibility they have in bridging the knowledge gap with consumers about how their data is used. As payments methods change, banks and retailers need to anticipate the questions worried consumers will ask and have the answers ready to hand in clear FAQs.”

Finance

These 5 Payments Trends Once Seemed Revolutionary. In 2021, They’ll Continue to Become the Norm

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Real-time payments – mitigating the security risks to capitalise on the opportunities

By Warren Hayashi, President, Asia-Pacific, Adyen.

The pandemic forced brands to transform their businesses in ways that are here to stay

After a year of such great uncertainty, attempting to predict the future may seem risky. But even as brands and retailers faced unprecedented upheaval in 2020, one constant has held true. The pandemic has accelerated trends toward digitisation—and that’s as true in payments as in so many other areas of business and society. The stark reality of needing to avoid close contact with others has driven transformations for retailers and brands in a matter of months that in the past might have taken years. In the process, behaviours and expectations have changed for good.

As 2021 begins, much uncertainty remains but we feel confident that the digital transformation of payments will only get faster. Even after the pandemic has receded and consumers have the option to go back to their old behaviours, many won’t. The rapid increase in e-commerce seen under COVID-19 will persist, especially among previously digital-hesitant consumers. Merchants can no longer assume that their digital customers are limited to younger, tech-savvy shoppers. As brands have shown flexibility during the pandemic, consumers have also come to expect the flexible arrangements to continue. On that note, these are the key trends in payments that should be top-of-mind for brands and retailers in Singapore and Asia Pacific in 2021:

  1. Contactless will extend its reach into every corner of retail

From the start, the pandemic forced merchants to find ways to minimize the amount of physical contact necessary to complete a transaction. Customers and workers alike sought to avoid handing over credit and debit cards, touching keypads, and handling cash. According to our 2020 Agility Report 58% of APAC respondents preferred to use contactless payment methods because of hygiene concerns.

Our data also showed that the use of services such as Apple Pay and Google Pay has significantly increased over the last year too. Research from Kantar reiterates this, revealing that the frequency of e-Wallets transactions in Southeast Asia rose from an average of 18% pre-COVID-19 to 25% post-COVID-19[1], indicating a shift from one payment method to another.

In the post-pandemic world, the transition to contactless will only become more widespread now that the bar has been raised among consumers for what checking out can be, from one-click payments to same-day delivery options. Not to mention, the value of QR codes has also been made apparent in anchoring a seamless experience, not just at point-of-sale but at multiple points along the customer journey too, such as viewing menus and placing orders. The pandemic may have driven the change in behavior, but the superior user experience will cement contactless as the new normal.

  1. The distinction between offline and online will fade into irrelevance

As countries went into different forms of lockdown, many shoppers were unable to enter brick-and-mortar stores throughout 2020. Unifying offline and online became an issue of survival for retailers, who quickly pivoted to make app-powered deliveries and self-pick up options a reality.

Even while most physical stores in Singapore have opened their doors to consumers again, the digital infrastructure will remain in place. Many shoppers continue to prefer the convenience of deliveries and expect the options to continue, and retailers will find they’re able to forge better customer relationships thanks to the rich data generated by digital transactions.

One of the biggest learnings for the industry is the need to rethink the traditional split between offline and online stores. With lines increasingly blurred, retailers will benefit from adopting a unified commerce approach where brand interactions on and across all channels are important.

  1. The membership model will reign in retail and also in food and beverage

The membership model is another emerging trend for 2021. Amazon Prime is a great example of this, where customers pay an annual fee that in effect encourages them to buy more from Amazon in an effort to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth from their Prime memberships. Quick-serve restaurants especially are seeking to seize some of that flywheel effect. In addition to improved incremental spend, membership programs enable QSRs to get to know their customers in ways that were never possible when they were just anonymous faces standing in line.

Meanwhile, subscription passes encourage loyalty and more frequent use. Our 2020 Agility Report found that 38% of Singapore respondents (compared to 27% in APAC and 22% in Europe) signaled their interest in using these for products, including food passes, to reduce the amount of times they need to shop. Expect to see more retailers offering memberships in 2021 as brands seek to own the customer relationship and the data that goes along with it.

  1. Installments will become an everyday way to pay

The twin forces of increased convenience and tightened household budgets have brought pay-by-installment options mainstream, a trend that will only grow in 2021. Machine learning algorithms have become more adept than ever at assessing risk instantaneously, making it easy to offer “buy now, pay later” options right at checkout. For small and mid-ticket items, shoppers know that, say, instead of paying $100 now, they’ll pay $25 per month for four months. That kind of transparency makes it easier for shoppers on the fence to commit, which appeals to merchants hoping to avoid the dreaded abandoned shopping cart.

In 2021, providers of “buy now, pay later” options themselves will start to diverge, as some focus on higher-end, multi-year agreements, while others seek to offer installment plans for shopping baskets as small as $50. For households increasingly accustomed to paying by the month for everything from streaming services to food delivery premium memberships, installment plans start to look like subscriptions that just happen to have a fixed end date.

  1. The checkout-less experience will draw shoppers back to brick-and-mortar

In 2020, the appeal of an in-store experience offering limited human contact took on a new dimension, accelerating interest in doing away with the checkout counter altogether. For instance, in Singapore, BHG is looking to expand its endless aisle offering. By using interactive screens in-store, customers are able to check on inventories across all of BHG’s stores and e-commerce platform and can opt to have items to be delivered directly to their homes.  Post-pandemic, shoppers will still find appeal in the human touch. The physical store continues to be relevant, especially in Asia Pacific and eliminating checkout counters frees staff to interact with shoppers in a more personal way, while also making lines a thing of the past.

In 2021, more stores will find various ways to make checkout a less prominent part of how people shop in-store. Multiple providers are creating their own versions of checkout-less experiences, where instead of going to the counter, customers will scan their items with their phones’ cameras, pay via app, and head out the door—a combination of increased trust and decreased friction that helps cultivate customer loyalty. In the case of Love, Bonito in Singapore, if customers are unable to find a particular item in store, they can go to an iPad within the premises, buy it online and have it shipped to their homes.

Across the five trends, this paradigm shift in the retail sector is underpinned by the under-tapped potential of technology to elevate the customer experience. Looking ahead in the new year, we expect retailers to increasingly harness digital solutions. Not only does this streamline operations, it also gives retailers the flexibility to pivot in line with changing preferences, and provide a seamless consumer journey across multiple channels.

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Bitcoin heads for worst weekly loss in months

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Bitcoin heads for worst weekly loss in months 1

By Tom Westbrook

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin wavered on Friday and was heading toward its sharpest weekly drop since September, as worries over regulation and its frothy rally drove a pullback from recent record highs.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency fell more than 5% to an almost three-week low of $28,800 early in the Asia session, before steadying near $32,000. It has lost 11% so far this week, the biggest drop since a 12% fall in September.

Traders said a report posted to Twitter by BitMEX Research https://twitter.com/BitMEXResearch/status/1351855414103715842 suggesting that part of a bitcoin may have been spent twice was enough to trigger selling, even if concerns were later resolved.

“You wouldn’t want to rationalise too much into a market that’s as inefficient and immature as bitcoin, but certainly there’s a reversal in momentum,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets in Melbourne, in the wake of the BitMEX report.

“The herd has probably looked at this and thought it sounded scary and shocking and it’s now the time to sell.”

Bitcoin was trading more than 20% below the record high of $42,000 hit two weeks ago, losing ground amid growing concerns that it is one of a number of price bubbles and as cryptocurrencies catch regulators’ attention.

During a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday, Janet Yellen, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the U.S. Treasury, expressed concerns that cryptocurrencies could be used to finance illegal activities.

That followed a call last week from European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde for global regulation of bitcoin.

Still, some said the pullback comes with the territory for an asset that is some 700% above the 2020 low of $3,850 hit in March.

“It’s a highly volatile piece,” said Michael McCarthy, strategist at brokerage CMC Markets in Sydney. “It made extraordinary gains and it’s doing what bitcoin does and swinging around.”

Second-biggest cryptocurrency ethereum intially slipped to a one-week low on Friday before rising 6% late in the Asia session to $1,177.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; editing by Leslie Adler & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Oil prices fall as China’s surging COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns

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Oil prices fall as China's surging COVID-19 cases trigger clampdowns 2

By Sonali Paul and Koustav Samanta

MELBOURNE/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices dropped on Friday, retreating further from 11-month highs hit last week, weighed down by worries that new pandemic restrictions in China will curb fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil importer.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dropped 53 cents, or 1%, to $52.60 a barrel at 0445 GMT, after slipping 18 cents on Thursday.

Brent crude futures fell 45 cents, or 0.8%, to $55.65 a barrel, erasing a 2 cent gain on Thursday.

Recovering fuel demand in China underpinned market gains late last year while the United States and Europe lagged, but that source of support is fading as a fresh wave of COVID-19 cases has sparked new restrictions to contain the spread.

“Indeed, investors are struggling to see through short-term pain for long-term gain heading into the weekend as COVID case counts in China are the most significant demand concern for traders,” Axi chief market strategist Stephen Innes said in a note.

The commercial hub of Shanghai reported its first locally transmitted cases in two months on Thursday, and Beijing is urging people not to travel during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, when tens of millions of urban workers typically head back to their villages.

A seasonal boost to China’s gasoline demand that is typically seen during the New Year holidays will be moderated by the tightened restrictions this year, consultancy FGE said in a note.

“We now have some data on vaccine rollouts, which show that acceptability is a bit on the low side, so pace of implementation may be slow… There may well be a bearish momentum developing (in oil markets),” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of energy consultancy Trifecta.

The market is awaiting official oil inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Friday, after industry data on Wednesday showed a surprise 2.6 million barrel increase in U.S. crude inventories last week compared with analysts’ forecasts for a 1.2 million barrel draw. [API/S]

(Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne and Koustav Samanta in Singapore; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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