June 19, 2003, 12:00 AM

Despite efforts to assure consumers, hacker-fear impedes online spending

12% of consumers have bought offline specifically to avoid submitting credit card information online, a Jupiter survey finds.


Despite efforts by online retailers and payment processors to assure shoppers of the safety of their credit card and personal information online, such security concerns remain a key reason shoppers don’t spend more online, according to a recent consumer survey by Jupiter Research Inc. More than half of the consumers polled by Jupiter said they’d purchased at a store rather than on the web. The refusal to submit credit card information, mentioned by 12%, was the fourth most-cited reason, following, in order, the desire to avoid shipping charges, cited by 50%; the inability to touch the product before buying, 46%; and reluctance to wait for delivery, 39%.

Within that 12%, lower online spenders demonstrated the highest mistrust of credit card use online. 70% of a customer segment Jupiter identifies as low spenders–-those who had spent less than $250 online over the past year-–said they’d purchased offline so as to avoid using a credit card for a web purchase vs. 30% of high spenders. The greatest concerns about credit card security online were expressed by the customer group that had lower average household income, Jupiter determined.

While some online retailers such as J.C. Penney take an approach that lets consumers purchase online without creating a permanent account registry or storing credit card information, others require users to register even if they are just browsing, Jupiter notes. Thus, for many consumers, “The belief that hackers could compromise personal and credit card information stored with an online retailer is a significant factor preventing them from making online purchases,” says Jupiter analyst Rob Leathern.


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