Figures soar for secure online payments

The number of credit and debit cards which are signed up to a secure online payment system has soared by more than 650 per cent during the past two years, figures showed today.

More than 25 million cards are now part of Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode, both of which make it safer for people to use their plastic to buy things online, payments group Apacs said.

The group said more than 1.5 million cardholders were registering their cards with these online payment systems every month, up from 200,000 a month two year ago.

Cardholders who sign up to the schemes choose a password which they then use when shopping online at participating retailers.

The system offers people greater protection against card fraud as it makes it harder for someone else to use their card.

It is estimated that £223.8 million was lost through card fraud over the internet during 2007, accounting for 77 per cent of all card-not-present fraud.

The figure was 45 per cent higher than in 2006, when internet losses totalled £154.5 million and 73 per cent of all card-not-present fraud.

Sandra Quinn, director of communications at Apacs, said: "Shopping online is now very much part of our everyday life, and it is excellent news that more than 25 million cards have registered with MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa.

"This is an important milestone as it means that more than half of all online shoppers have now registered their cards.

"The banking industry continues to urge those cardholders not yet signed up to do so, as we all need to play our part to make life harder for online shopping fraudsters."