British Retail Consortium: E-commerce crisis averted, but not yet in the clear


In a post on the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) website, it detailed how the organisation was instrumental this year in preventing what could have been a disaster for the UK’s online retail market.

It said how a lack of readiness among the payments industry for new security rules that were due to come into play in September could have left millions of consumers unable to make purchases over the internet with the failure of up to a third of retail transactions, costing retailers billions in lost revenue.

It details that the new rules, known as ‘Strong Customer Authentication (SCA)’, involve shoppers providing further information to verify that they who they say they are when making payments.

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To complete a transaction a customer would be expected to provide two factors of identification from something you are, something you have, or something you know.

It acts like a card and PIN in the physical environment – meaning most face-to-face transactions are unaffected, but online customer journeys could suffer.

The report went on: “Whilst the new rules are welcome as a tool in the fight against fraud, it became clearer as 2019 rolled-on that the banking and payments industry were in no place to implement the new rules without widespread disruption to, or plain failure of e-commerce.”

Adding: “The BRC led a coalition of business organisations to call for a delay to enforcement of the new rules to ensure a greater state of readiness across the country. And in the summer the regulator responsible, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), accepted a managed rollout plan for SCA prepared by UK Finance, with significant input from the BRC.”

However, the post concluded in stating that “we’re not out of the woods yet.”

It states: “The new rules will now come into play in March 2021 and so there in a mammoth task to be done to ensure that the crisis is averted and not merely delayed.

“The BRC are working closely with the banking and payments industry through the UK Finance Project Management Office to deliver a good state of readiness for SCA through awareness and the urgent deployment of technical solutions that work for customers and retailers.”

The BRC explained that if you sell online then SCA is critical to your business and will impact the experience of your customers.

It encouraged those who do to contact to find out more or engage with the workstream.

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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