September 30, 2004, 12:00 AM

Safe Shopping

(Page 3 of 3)

But while Accomando agrees that most people will click on the card they want, he believes there are enough consumers out there who will click on the card that shows up first. "There may not be a lot of people like that out there, but there are enough of them that you can swing some serious market share," he says.

Visa`s Sweeney, however is not concerned about the default card issue. While some retailers automatically put the cards in alphabetical order—putting Visa last on the list—he says most retailers rank them in the order in which they are most often used. With the largest market share in both the online and offline worlds, Visa usually gets on top, he says.

Regardless of whether the communications are regarding card preference, security or pure branding plays, the next few months could get more interesting based on what the card associations and issuers have on their agendas.

With the holidays coming up, and studies showing large increases in online holiday shopping over the last few years, this is the time when it is most critical for card companies to get their messages of security and brand imaging out in the market.

And most say they`re ready to do just that.

Lauri Giesen is a Libertyille, Ill.-based freelance business writer.

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