In this day and age, there are a lot of people who enjoy the online shopping experience. Looking for items you want or need has never been easier, and paying through a credit card or even Bitcoin to get goods delivered to your door is as convenient as it gets. However, most websites will require their customers to verify their identity sooner or later, which is a rather annoying process.
Online Shopping – Great, As Long As No Documents Are Needed
The convenience factor associated with online shopping from the comfort of your own home is unmatched. Browsing the internet for things you may or may not need, and having them delivered to your doorstep from anywhere in the world is an unprecedented feeling. And many people seem to be enjoying this experience above anything else.
While checking off your shopping list by browsing the online stores, there is no element of human interaction required. Everything can be done at the customer’s pace, without having to worry about what anyone else thinks. Especially when it comes to shopping with family members, such trips can prove to be quite a hassle in a physical environment.
Last but not least, there is no such thing as having to wait in line while shopping online. Once a customer fills up their basket with all of the items needed, they can simply check out and pay for their order. Everything else will be taken care of by the retailer or merchant, and goods will be sent on their way accordingly.
Or that would be the traditional story, assuming the site you are shopping at will not ask the customer to verify their identity. While it is no secret that credit card fraud is a real plague for e-commerce websites, the legitimate first-time customers can be put off by these verification requests. After all, a third party you don’t know personally wants a copy of very sensitive personal information, and the customer has to trust them in making sure this information is not abused.
Outdated Verification Process Will Hamper Online Shopping Growth
Whenever an online retailer or merchant asks a customer to verify their identity, the same reason is given every time. Either this request is a result of a random security check or the order has been flagged for a potential fraud risk. Needless to say, in most cases, neither of these stories are true, as the retailer or merchant just wants to see whether or not they can obtain a copy of very personal information for unknown reasons.
Granted, credit cards – the most commonly accepted online payment method – were never designed to be used over the internet. A credit card is a very insecure payment method, as the card number, expiry date and CVV code are all clearly visible on the card itself. Even when using a credit card to make a purchase at a physical location, customers are entrusting the cashier with their credit card data. Not exactly the safest form of payment, either online or offline, but society has gotten accustomed to relying on this payment method.
Should your online order become the subject of such a verification procedure, most websites will ask the customer to send a copy of the front – and sometimes back – of their credit card. Once again, credit card information is clearly visible on the card itself, and complying with this request will give the merchant or retailer full details of your preferred payment method, with the option to abuse it.
Not all of these inquiries are of malicious intent, but there have been numerous stories of customers who see mysterious charges on their credit card after submitting verification documents to a website they ordered from. Most retailers will let you blank out part of the digits on the front of the card, as well as the CVV code on the back, for security purposes, though. But it is a security risk to keep in mind regardless.
On top of that, customers will need to submit a scan of their government issued ID or passport. It goes without saying that providing this document is a strange request, as a copy of an ID or passport can be used to steal a customer’s identity. And identity theft is on the rise as well, making it even more worrisome when a website asks for this critical piece of personal information.
Using Blockchain Technology for Verification and Rating System
Regardless of how you look at the verification procedures associated with online shopping, things will need to change sooner rather than later. Every time a merchant or retailer gets a hold of a copy of personal and financial information, the door is wide open for misuse, abuse and potential fraud of either money or identity.
Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology can play an important role in changing the verification procedure associated with online shopping and other online procedures. Not only is the blockchain more transparent than any other form of technology being used right now. Not just in the form of transactions and financial data, but it also opens up a lot of technological innovation opportunities.
Many people see the blockchain as a public ledger for Bitcoin transactions, but the technology itself can be used for nearly any type of service in the world. Possibilities range from stopping counterfeit products from entering the market to transferring digital ownership, and even online ID verification and reputation systems.
Rather than relying on customers submitting a scan of their ID/passport and credit card, blockchain technology technology can be used to create a form of “online user verification”, which is automatically submitted at the time of payment. This online identity would not be visible for everyone to see, as only the owner of this identification decides who data is being shared with. ANd because the information is stored on the decentralized ledger that is the blockchain, the merchant or retailer will never have access to sensitive details either.
On top of that, blockchain technology can introduce a rating system for online payments. In doing so, both the customer and retailer can see the other’s reputation, and base their decision to either buy or not buy on that reputation score. Imagine this system similar to how eBay feedback and reputation works, but on a scale that goes beyond one single platform and becomes usable on the entire Internet. All of your online actions will influence your online reputation, which is visible for everyone to see.
What are your thoughts on the verification procedure during online shopping? And would you like to see a blockchain-based solution in the future? Let us know in the comments below!
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