OPERATIONS

Survey: Most consumers concerned about online fraud

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Los Altos, Calif. — A survey released Tuesday by ThreatMetrix and The Ponemon Institute found that the majority of consumers have real concerns about online fraud.

According to the study “Mobile Payments & Online Shopping Survey of U.S. Consumers,” one-third of consumers intend to purchase more online than in-store this holiday shopping season, and three in four have either some or serious concerns about online fraud.

Forty-three percent report they have been the victim of online fraud, up slightly from 42% that was reported in a similar study in early 2011.

“While consumers continue to show a preference for the convenience of shopping and browsing online, their concerns about becoming a victim of online fraud is also growing,” said Bert Rankin, VP marketing, ThreatMetrix. “With mobile thrown into the shopping mix, which is even more apparent this year, consumers and retailers alike need to be well equipped against fraudsters in every possible channel.”

Nearly one in three consumers believe the fraud risk to be lower on a smartphone or tablet than on a desktop or laptop computer, added Rankin. When asking the “Elite” group – which for the purpose of the survey are consumers who could be considered extremely active users of the Internet – that number increased to 39%.

“An overwhelming 84% of survey respondents said they thought it was important that a retailer express a commitment to protecting them from fraud.

Most popular purchases using a mobile payments option on a smartphone or tablet are music downloads (77%), online service subscriptions or memberships (75%) and apps for smartphone or tablets (73%), according to survey results. Consumer electronics ranked slightly above clothing, at 48% and 43%, respectively.

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Cardtronics to roll out ADA-compliant ATM services to FirstBank

BY Staff Writer

Houston — Retail ATM owner Cardtronics said Tuesday that it has forged an ATM managed services agreement with Lakewood, Colo.-based FirstBank, covering the segment of its ATM network located in King Soopers grocery stores.

As part of the agreement, Cardtronics has implemented all hardware upgrades necessary to bring the King Soopers portion of the $11 billion-asset bank’s ATM network into compliance with revised “Americans with Disabilities Act regulations set to take effect in 2012.

King Soopers is one of the local brand names operated by The Kroger Co.

In total, the FirstBank-Cardtronics agreement covers 89 ATMs, all located in King Soopers grocery stores scattered across Colorado.

“With the readiness deadline less than six months away, Cardtronics’ ability to efficiently and cost-effectively prepare FirstBank’s King Soopers ATM network for the new ADA regulations delivers both compliance and peace-of-mind,” said Jeff Kaufman, executive VP FirstBank Data Corp.

The revised Americans with Disabilities Act, with changes set to take effect March 15, 2012, mandates that all U.S. ATMs meet ADA guidelines regarding accessibility to the blind or visually impaired.

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Holiday hiring seen as flat to slightly lower

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — Holiday retail hiring is expected to be flat or even slightly lower compared with last year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas’ annual holiday hiring forecast.

The outplacement consulting firm said 627,000 seasonal retail jobs were created from October through December in 2010. The total was up 27% from 2009, and nearly double the 26-year low that occurred in 2008.

"It would be surprising if holiday hiring exceeded last year’s level," stated John Challenger, chief executive, Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Challenger said that holiday employment gains would most definitely not reach pre-recession levels, which averaged around 720,000 extra seasonal workers added from October through December.

“Most indications so far point to about the same level of hiring as last year,” he said.

A recent survey of major U.S. retailers by the Hay Group found 68% plan to hire the same number of seasonal workers as last year. About one-fourth of respondents said they plan to reduce the number of seasonal hires.

The uncertain state of the economy is credited with retailers’ decision to pull back on hiring. But another factor that may suppress increased hiring is the fact that retailers are heading into the holiday season with about 160,000 more workers than a year ago, according to Challenger.

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