Position Paper Ecommerce Europe. E-Payments 2012

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1 Position Paper Ecommerce Europe E-Payments 2012

2 Contents Introduction: Ecommerce Europe 3 1. Payments from the merchants perspective 5 2. Market outlook 6 3. Card-based payments and related fraud issues 7 4. Online Banking e-payment schemes 9 SEPA Direct Debit potential Alternative payment services 11 Wallet Solutions 11 Overlay Services Mobile commerce Online identity and authentication 13 2

3 Introduction: Ecommerce Europe Ecommerce Europe ( is the European collective of merchant organisations and their members. Individual merchants can also be direct members. Ecommerce Europe has set up a Working Committee on E-Payments (preceded by the 2011 EMI E-Payment Merchant Initiative) to strengthen and communicate the views of European merchants on issues surrounding e-payments. It is Ecommerce Europe s view that successful pan-european e-payment methods are a crucial element for future growth of the e-commerce market. Ecommerce Europe aims to transform this vision into actions and initiatives towards a more effective and efficient e-payment landscape in Europe that is beneficial for both web merchants and consumers. In the EMI position paper of June 2011, we highlighted the aspects of the payment system that offer opportunities for greater efficiency and accelerated economic growth. This 2012 Position Paper clarifies our views and concerns about e-payment issues for the years to come, comments on recent European regulatory and legislative developments, and aims to: List the key issues and requirements for web merchants in Europe; Give direction to payment service providers and financial institutions in general, for the development and operation of payment services; Provide a constructive basis for discussions with stakeholders including consumer organisations. Support national position papers on e-payments and calls to action. With this position paper, Ecommerce Europe would like to contribute to the discussion which the European Commission started by releasing the Green Paper Towards an integrated European market for card, mobile and internet payments. Ecommerce Europe would like to stress five topics that have recently been extensively discussed and endorsed by the European merchant community through extensive consultations. (Web) merchants determine their optimal payment mix based on three criteria (in order of importance): reach, conversion and cost. Reach is defined as the number of potential buyers that have access to the mix of payment methods. The total reach of a merchant s payment mix determines whether an interested visitor is a potential customer. The conversion determines the probability of that potential customer becoming an actual customer: it determines business revenue. Finally, the cost of the payment partially affects the profitability of that customer. The key message from Ecommerce Europe to the financial industry is to intensify innovation in the field of customer not-present solutions for e-commerce transactions. Ecommerce Europe calls for alternative solutions for card payments. Improving the current range of payment options will foster e-commerce growth. Merchants will assess industry initiatives against the priorities laid out in section 2. 3

4 This position paper makes 10 recommendations for a stronger online payment landscape in Europe: Recommendation 1: The conversion of authentication methods can be improved by providing a familiar and consistent user experience (e.g. by following existing authentication methods, such as 3 Secure) and by avoiding unnecessary steps in the check-out process. Recommendation 2: Harmonise charge back rules. 3D Secure does not protect against charge backs as such. A smooth and harmonised exception and dispute handling system would reduce costs for merchants significantly. Recommendation 3: In the spirit of SEPA, merchant service charges (which are set by negotiation between acquiring banks and merchants) should be transparent to merchants. Recommendation 4: Acknowledge the fact that 3D Secure reduces the risk of fraud by setting lower merchant fees. Recommendation 5: In order to improve reach at a pan-european level, cross-border e-commerce has to be stimulated by harmonising online payment systems. Ecommerce Europe urges the European payments industry to harmonise the online payments landscape by implementing the MyBank scheme and offering accompanying services (e-mandates, e-identity) to both merchants and consumers. Recommendation 6: Ecommerce Europe calls on all stakeholders in the payments industry to introduce a viable alternative to the paper mandate: the e-mandate. The development of this product would increase the efficiency of direct debits. Recommendation 7: Merchants request more harmonisation and clarity in the legal framework, fee structure and concerning the chargeback rights associated with wallet solutions and call for interoperability between solutions. Recommendation 8: Web merchants welcome third-party merchants services but ask for clarity from the industry and regulators on the status of these kinds of new service providers in order to improve consumer confidence in their trustworthiness. Recommendation 9: Merchants call on the payment industry to develop payment methods geared for usage on mobile devices, offering reach and conversion at a fair cost. Recommendation 10: Ecommerce Europe closely follows and supports developments and initiatives aiming to implement an EU-wide interoperable system for the recognition of e-identification and e-authentication. Aspects to be considered in this effort should include the re-use of online identities and their credentials. In order to be successful, solutions should take into account the prominent role mobile devices play (and will play) in every type of online service. 4

5 1. Payments from the merchants perspective Before addressing the topics of this Position Paper individually, this section outlines the basic considerations web merchants make concerning payments. There are three main priorities that web merchants have in terms of online payments: 1. Reach 2. Conversion 3. Fair cost Reach is defined as the number of potential buyers that have access to the mix of payment methods. The total reach of a merchant s payment mix determines whether an interested visitor is a potential customer. The conversion determines the probability of that potential customer becoming an actual customer: it determines business and revenue, inter alia. The usability of payment methods strongly influences the conversion rate. Finally, fair cost of the payment partially affects the profitability of that customer. The cost of payments is among the merchants most important concerns, but only after both reach and conversion is satisfying. Ecommerce Europe recognises the key barriers for consumers as identified in the Digital Agenda 1. Paragraph of the document highlights the following key barriers for shopping online: 1. Lack of confidence in the online payment methods; 2. Privacy concerns. Consumers understand that their identity needs to be verified in order to enable the delivery of goods or services online. However, it should be possible to provide a satisfactory but minimal set of (personal) data, thereby affecting the consumer s privacy as little as possible. 3. Lack of trust in the web merchant. Consumers expect fair agreements, conditions and delivery, whether or not the merchant is supported by (international) trust marks. It is in the interest of the e-commerce sector to eliminate these barriers, since this will fuel market growth further. Consumers want more trustworthy online payment methods. This position paper addresses this issue, since a better (cross border) e-authentication and e-authorisation service would have a direct positive impact on consumers. 1 A Digital Agenda for Europe (COM final/2), European Commission,

6 2. Market outlook Throughout the economic crisis of the recent years, e-commerce has remained the growing, innovative sector that it has been from the start. With the proliferation of mobile internet access (in some regions surpassing fixed connections) the sector has become even more diverse. Payments are a part of this varied landscape and have to adapt to new regions, new forms of usage and new channels. According to data published by Forrester Research 2, e-commerce in Europe grew 18% in 2011 to a volume of billion euros. This strong recent growth is set to continue. It proves that the digital economy has become an integral part of the shopping process. Research by the European Commission 3 shows that 40% of Europeans have made a purchase on the Internet. In 2011, Western Europe was the second largest region, after North America, in terms of sales generated over the internet. Eastern Europe followed in 4th place. As internet retail matures, new business models (flash sales, group buying and member-only sites) have emerged. This evolution, coupled with cross-border sales, leads to further requirements on retailers pricing and delivery options 4. Greater levels of travel and growing confidence in the legal framework in the EU have led to consumers increasingly shopping across borders. In the future, the Internet should boost the amount of spending generated between countries. According to the European Commission s Consumer Conditions Scorecard 5, 36% of all EU citizens have made a purchase over the internet from a retailer in their own country. Only 9% of consumers have made a cross-border purchase. Consumers are more confident shopping with domestic websites. 48% of consumers said so, only 33% answering they were equally confident in domestic and cross-border websites. However, of the consumers that have made a cross-border purchase, 61% were equally confident in cross-border and domestic online shops. This indicates that when people gain experience using online channels for cross-border purchases, cross-border shopping will become customary. To provide these consumers with the best possible service, payment methods should be ready to enable increasing cross-border sales. 2 European Online Retail Forecast: 2011 To 2016, Forrester Research, Consumer Conditions Scorecard (5th edition), European Commission, European Digital Divide: ecommerce markets in Europe, Euromonitor, Consumer Conditions Scorecard (5th edition), European Commission,

7 3. Card-based payments and related fraud issues Card payments are very important in the current e-commerce landscape. Due to their high penetration in major consumer markets, (credit) cards guarantee a large reach, which is merchants main concern when deciding which payment options to accept. Cards however, do have certain flaws that make them less suitable for certain contexts. Their main flaw is vulnerability to fraud in card-not-present transactions, which affects merchants and consumers strongly. In order to guarantee a certain level of security for customers, credit card payments can be reversed by the customer (a procedure commonly known as chargeback ) when the customer judges a transaction is not correct. This ability can be misused by the consumer (except in the case of a fraudulent merchant) to avoid going through the regular complaints and refund process. This phenomenon puts merchants at risk of having to bear unnecessary costs for dispute handling, loss of goods and possible penalties. From a consumer point of view, cards have an unsafe image, since anyone who has access to card details can use the card without any authentication. Therefore card detail theft (by merchants, processors and banks) is a growing criminal activity. This carries with it the risk of reputational damage, the loss of consumer confidence in the merchant and payment brand, which can culminate in consumer dissatisfaction with the entire e-commerce process. This is clearly not beneficial for any of the stakeholders. Credit card brands have developed 3D Secure, an additional security measure that involves the issuing bank in the transaction. This measure protects merchants from a certain type of charge back (of the it wasn t me type). 3D Secure does not help conversion (it reduces it), especially with the variety of implementations used by issuing banks. 3D Secure often requires an (additional) signup from the credit card holder, requiring yet another password. Sometimes the customer is forced to do this before he or she can proceed with the payment without being informed of the benefits of doing so. A clear communication from credit card companies towards the consumer is often lacking. All of this significantly reduces conversion, the second main concern for web merchants. Because 3D Secure limits the risk for banks, use of 3D Secure should ultimately lead to lower costs. Therefore 3D Secure transactions justify a lower merchant cost (MSC or Merchant Service Charge) as well. Ecommerce Europe is still encountering problems regarding the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). With SEPA, the European market for payment services should be unified, however the cost of processing card payments still varies greatly between countries. Merchants have to have separate legal entities in various jurisdictions to realise the best rates for their payments. Alternatively, they can use specialised service providers for this. Especially for smaller merchants, this is not economical and they are confronted with higher costs. In the spirit of the European internal market or SEPA, Ecommerce Europe believes that banks should provide clarity and transparency in their merchant service charges. 7

8 The right to reverse a payment is an important characteristic of credit cards that consumers appreciate. For merchants, the fact that issuers in Europe impose a variety of procedures on merchants to handle exceptions and disputes related to charge backs is unnecessarily costly. Credit cards offer superior reach across Europe. However, in terms of conversion and fair cost, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Recommendation 1: Improve authentication methods (such as 3D Secure) and harmonise systems where possible. The conversion of authentication methods can be improved by providing a familiar and consistent user experience (e.g. by following existing authentication methods) and by avoiding unnecessary steps in the check-out process. Recommendation 2: Harmonise charge back rules. 3D Secure does not protect against charge backs as such. A smooth and harmonised exception and dispute handling system would reduce costs for merchants significantly. Recommendation 3: In the spirit of SEPA, merchant service charges (which are set by negotiation between acquiring banks and merchants) should be transparent to merchants. Recommendation 4: Acknowledge the fact that 3D Secure reduces the risk of fraud by setting lower merchant fees. 8

9 4. Online Banking e-payment schemes The integration of the European payments market (the SEPA project) has led to the introduction of two pan-european payment instruments, SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and SEPA Direct Debit (SDD). To date, the market has been slow in adopting these new services, although it is expected that the recently agreed end-date regulation will accelerate this adoption. With an integrated market for credit transfers and direct debits, the reach of these payment methods can compete with that of cards. It is up to the payment industry to make this reach available for use in e-commerce. Online Banking e-payment (OBeP) solutions are common in several European regions and are highly appreciated by merchants and consumers. For the merchants OBeP transactions (the ones based on credit transfers) do not carry a charge back risk, while for consumers OBeP transaction use the online banking service consumers are familiar with. An OBeP solution that leverages the SEPA payment instruments (SCT and SDD) would have the combined reach of the SEPA payment instruments and the online banking offerings. The challenge is to combine this with conversion by means of a simple user experience and a trusted environment. In terms of cost, OBeP based on SCT solutions does not carry the credit risk associated with credit cards. Therefore, it can offer lower costs. Also, the credit transfer resulting from an OBeP transaction is typically non-reversible. In the future, OBeP could also include SDD, where the online banking channel is used to sign the e-mandate at the merchant. Most of these transactions can be reversed, according to the rules set out by the SDD rule book. Although OBeP is currently used in several European countries, the reach on a European scale is lacking. Not many online banking customers have the ability to use OBeP services, compared with the number of those able to use cards and online banks. Therefore more online banks in Europe should start offering OBeP to consumers and merchants and offer cross border interoperability. The only potentially successful pan-european initiative in this field seems to be MyBank, currently under development by EBA CLEARING. MyBank will unlock e-payments for all European countries, through the familiar and trusted online banking portal in combination with the SEPA payment instruments SCT and SDD. Web merchants have great expectations for this solution, as it will combine reach and conversion (the Online Banking portal is trusted by consumers) and offers a non-reversible payment (when based on SCT) and competitive fees. Recommendation 5: In order to improve reach at a pan-european level, cross-border e-commerce has to be stimulated by harmonising online payment systems. Ecommerce Europe urges the European payments industry to harmonise the online payments landscape by implementing the MyBank scheme and offering accompanying services (e-mandates, e-identity) to both merchants and consumers. 9

10 SEPA Direct Debit potential Direct debits are an attractive and cost-effective way of paying in specific situations, such as recurring payments and situations where the risk is low or where the amount is not fully specified at the moment of ordering. The buyer s right to charge back does not support one-off e-commerce payments and can lead to the same situations the industry is experiencing currently with credit card chargebacks and fraud. Also, it remains to be seen how the recently added SEPA end date will affect the usability of the SDD (white listing option). In any case, for direct debit to be a success in the online channel, a solution needs to be developed to replace the current paper mandate. Merchants welcome the e-mandate, because it enables the proper use of direct debit in the online world. E-mandates should come with SEPA direct debit and/ or with other local direct debit solutions and support one-off as well as recurring payments, both for consumer and business buyers. For an optimal user experience the e-mandate should be given with the credentials the buyer already has, such as his or her online bank login (e.g. also via MyBank) and mobile phone number, hence creating a universal payment authentication experience online or with a public sector e-id card. Recommendation 6: Ecommerce Europe calls on all stakeholders in the payments industry to introduce a viable alternative to the paper mandate: the e-mandate. The development of this product would increase the efficiency of direct debits. 10

11 5. Alternative payment services Alternative Payment services are defined as services offered by regulated entities other than traditional banks. These payment solutions are usually developed by innovative companies with a focus on e-commerce. Wallet Solutions Wallet solutions allow users to pay online and offline with a virtual wallet that can be funded with a variety of different methods, from cash to credit cards and bank accounts. PayPal can be regarded as the dominant player in this field. The main benefits of wallets are that they mitigate the usability and risk issues mentioned in recommendation 1 (3D Secure) and wallets typically do not differentiate their pricing according to geography. Ecommerce welcomes wallet solutions as long as they are accessible for a large number of buyers (reach), offer excellent usability and po-tentially offer interoperability. Since using a wallet solution adds another actor in the value chain, with its own rules regarding fees and chargeback rights, it results in added complexity for merchants. Recommendation 7: Merchants request more harmonisation and clarity in the legal framework, fee structure and concerning the chargeback rights associated with wallet solutions and call for interoperability between solutions. Overlay Services Overlay services are defined as third party services that provide connectivity to online banking services. However, as they ask consumers to fill in their online banking credentials, there is a heated debate concerning security. On the other hand, web merchants encourage banks to open up their accounts for third party merchant services, fostering innovation and competition. Recommendation 8: Web merchants welcome third-party merchants services but ask for clarity from the industry and regulators on the status of these kinds of new service providers in order to improve consumer confidence in their trustworthiness. 11

12 6. Mobile commerce In 2011, the number of smartphones sold exceeded the number of PCs. People are ever more connected through their mobile phones and tablets and this will have an effect on consumers shopping behaviour. Ecommerce Europe believes that the rapid increase in the number of mobile devices will form the foundation of the next wave of growth in e-commerce. Because of the various user settings and screen sizes as well as the uncertainty and security risks, not every online payment method is applicable to mobile devices. Therefore merchants require payment methods that are optimised for mobile devices and which can be offered in a competitive fashion. Web merchants tend not to distinguish between m-payments and e-payments, as both solutions can be traced back to electronic payment solutions. European merchants are concerned with e-payments in the general sense. Whether e-payments are conducted from a mobile device or a fixed computer should not matter. Both are customer-not-present transactions with all their specifics. Mobile devices have additional requirements due to their small screens, so additional (incremental) innovation is required here, but from the merchants perspective, the same conditions apply to these payments and merchants seek reach and conversion at a fair cost. E-commerce via mobile devices will also benefit generic e-authentication solutions: when consumers can re-use profile data stored elsewhere to reduce input on the device itself, this will improve the shopping experience and will ultimately increase conversion. Recommendation 9: Merchants call on the payment industry to develop payment methods geared for usage on mobile devices, offering reach and conversion at a fair cost. 12

13 7. Online identity and authentication Web users have a vast number of online identities of various natures: starting from social network profiles, bank account credentials, academia credentials and government website accounts. These logins or credentials could be verified or unverified, depending on the level of security required. Web merchants welcome initiatives towards re-using these identities in the ecommerce process. The STORK initiative to integrate eid solutions at a European level is seen as a viable option. The aim of the STORK project is to establish a European eid Interoperability Platform that will allow citizens to establish new e-relations across borders, simply by presenting their national eid. This objective has recently been underlined by the announcement by the European Commission on the revision of the e-signature directive. Some of the benefits that attractive eid solutions could bring include: 1. Secure payment: online identity solutions will improve the security of cards, credit transfers and direct debits (see recommendations 1, 3 and 4). By using a similar international online identity solution (e.g. based on online banking and mobile phones) for all payment types, the consumer experience becomes harmonised. This leads to a better experience, more trust and therefore more sales if implemented in such a way that the consumer s privacy is protected. The mobile channel should also be included in this effort. 2. Profile information: buyers can store profile information (address, name, age category etc.) and disclose them to the merchants of their choice. This gives a merchant more certainty and leads to a better consumer experience (more conversion). 3. Improve the mobile shopping experience: mobile screens are small. Using previously stored (on- line) identity profiles will reduce the need for input by buyers and will therefore increase accessibility to the mobile channels. 4. Reduce fraud: with better e-identity services, merchants can prevent fraudulent transactions, leading to a reduction of fees for merchants. Recommendation 10: Ecommerce Europe closely follows and supports developments and initiatives aiming to implement an EU-wide interoperable system for the recognition of e-identification and e-authentication. Aspects to be considered in this effort should include the re-use of online identities and their credentials. In order to be successful, solutions should take into account the prominent role mobile devices play (and will play) in every type of online service. 13

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