7 November 2014
W3C introduces web payments initiative
The World Wide Web standards organisation (W3C) is about to start a new initiative to integrate payments seamlessly into the Open Web Platform. The organisation brings together banks, retailers, governments and tech firms in an effort to develop standards for payments on the open web. There is a significant need for a standard like this, as the worldwide market for online payments still grows. Web payments suffer from security concerns and usability, especially for transactions made on mobile devices.
By creating a standard platform the customer experience for online transactions improves, fraud is reduced, interoperability increases, which all results in new business opportunities. All parties benefit from a safer, faster, more efficient and accessible payment system.
W3C has formed a Web Payments Interest Group that works together on developing the standard. The group will look at online and offline payments, remittances, retail and bill transactions, new cryptocurrencies and the role of regulation on technology. Furthermore the group will search for gaps in web technology regarding usability, security and privacy.
E-commerce thrives and is expected to reach 1154 trillion euros in 2014, an increase of nearly 20% from last year (Forrester). One third of those transactions take place on a mobile device. There are few obstacles that stand in the way of even stronger sales growth on those devices.
Usability: online shoppers add products to their shopping carts, but they rarely complete their purchases. Small screens and keyboards, combined with the requirement to create an account and share personal information with unknown merchants are some of the reasons that the average shopping cart abandonment rate is 97% on mobile devices.
Fraud: stories of massive credit number theft demonstrate both inadequacy of today’s approach to sharing sensitive information and their high cost.
Because the web is widely available, strengthening support for payments has the potential not just to improve usability and reduce the risk of fraud, but also create new opportunities for businesses and consumers in areas such as coupons, loyalty programs and cryptocurrencies.
Also, through mobile applications, the web can also make brick and mortar transactions more secure and convenient. Although there is a lot of innovation in mobile payment systems, the lack of standards makes it more difficult to adapt to new payment approaches or new payment providers.
Nowadays there are more payment methods than ever before. Adapting existing payment standards, as well as old and new technologies to work in a browser environment will help connect more than 1 billion people to the internet of money.