February 3, 2005, 12:00 AM

Single-use numbers increase confidence, boost online spending, study says

Single-use or controlled payment numbers give shoppers an alternative to providing their actual credit card number online. A study by Orbiscom finds that cardholders who use the feature spend 50% to 200% more online.


A study conducted by controlled payment technology provider Orbiscom among card-issuing clients indicates that online spending increases among cardholders who use single-use numbers, with those growth rates exceeding the rate at which online spending is increasing overall.

Among bank-card issuing customers, cardholders who used the single-use feature increased online spending by 50% to 200%, according to Orbiscom executive vice president Diane Shaib. In some cardholder segments where online spending had previously been minimal, spending for those using the single-use number feature increased by as much as 500%, Shaib says. Orbiscom tracked spending over a year, comparing spending among online users who used the single-use number feature when made available by their card issuers to those who did not choose to use it, but did spend online.

Among card issuers that made the feature available to cardholders, those that also tracked offline spending saw it rise by 7% to 10% among cardholders who’d used single-use numbers online, a lift Shaib attributes to overall positive branding impact. Shaib adds that positive impact appeared to extend to improving customer retention and loyalty–a challenge in the highly competitive bank card industry–with voluntary attrition rates among cardholder users of the technology reduced by as much as 50%.

Orbiscom’s lead product is technology to support single-use numbers, which it calls controlled payment numbers, in which a new, one-time number is created as a substitute for a cardholder’s actual credit card number for every online transaction, with the aim of increasing transaction security. Thee major Orbiscom clients offering the technology under branded programs-card issuers Citibank, Discover Financial Services and MBNA-represent about 43% of all U.S. bank cards eligible for enrollment in programs that use Orbiscom’s technology. 5% to 10% of eligible cardholders across those clients have actually enrolled, according to Shaib.


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