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You have to get your card registered to shop online
Are you planning to shop online in the near future? Or is there any other online transaction, involving the use of plastic money, high on your agenda? If yes, better get registered with your bank, otherwise you won’t be able to use your credit or debit card online just after a week’s time. For, the RBI has made it mandatory for all online transactions to have an ‘extra’ level of authentication from August 1, 2009 onwards. And some banks have already started complying with this mandate.

Although lots of ecommerce players are concerned about losing their business in the short run, as they believe that many shoppers, who are still not aware about the RBI mandate, may simply ditch the buying decision at the checkout process, bankers view this as one more step towards moving closer towards a fraud-proof world of online transactions.

“This is just to add an additional layer of security for online transactions. This requires that a password in addition to information available on the credit card itself be given to ensure that it is the card holder himself who is authorizing the payment,” says Harsh Roongta, CEO, ApnaPaisa Pvt Ltd, adding, “typically even as you are shopping, the payment gateway will allow you to verify your credit card under the ‘Verified by Visa’ or ‘Verified by Mastercard’ programme by providing details that are not stored on the credit card.”

Thus, anyone shopping online from August 1 onwards will be required to first register one’s existing card for this service. One can do this either by visiting the website of one’s respective bank or by choosing to accept the registration process on the merchant websites. In case of the former, a customer can create a password and a shared secret instantly. However, for getting registered while shopping online, you need to select the goods or services you want from a Verified by Visa/ MasterCard
SecureCode online store and proceed to the payment page. There you will have to enter your card number and the online store will connect with your bank to check whether your card is enrolled for this service.

The users who are registered for this service will be asked to put their password, while the users who are not registered for this service will be prompted to activate the same by creating the password and shared secret on the merchant website itself. Once the identity is verified, the transaction will be completed. Based on the authentication provided by the issuer, the transaction will be processed and the user will get a confirmation.

“This service, thus, assures cardholders of additional security while shopping online using their existing Visa or MasterCard credit card. It confirms the cardholder’s identity through a simple check process when he/she makes online purchases,” says an SBI Card spokesperson.

In other words, this registration will make the online transactions more secure as in order to process the payments, the merchant website will ask for the password to be input. And transactions will not be processed without the password. Thus, even if your card gets stolen, one won’t be able to make any online purchase in the absence of the password.

“Incidentally, even for shopping transactions offline where the card is ‘not present’ will now require that the bank send an SMS to the credit card holder for amounts larger than Rs 5,000,” says Roongta.

On the flip side, however, the service of card authentication will only be eligible/applicable to merchant websites who are also compliant with this service. This means that this authentication will not be required for transacting on portals which are not compliant with this service or those based outside India. This has left many big ecommerce players worried as they believe that this may affect their business, at least in the short run. Bankers, however, think otherwise and say that online transactions will not be affected much as the customers would, sooner or later, be aware that this is for the security of their own card and hence for their own benefit.

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