August 29, 2007, 12:00 AM

Internet Retailer Survey: Money matters

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Merchants are also responsible for the security of cardholder data and must be careful not to store certain types of data in their systems or the systems of their third-party service providers. But only 36.4% of retailers participating in the Internet Retailer survey are fully compliant with PCI standards. “Given that this program is only several years old, the compliance rate is actually pretty good,” says Julie Fergerson, founder of the Merchants’ Risk Council and vice president of Debix Inc., a developer of identity protection applications and services. “Obtaining PCI standardization is very expensive and many smaller merchants would rather risk a fine from the bankcard associations than spend a lot of money on compliance up front.”

Sales paid for in U.S. dollars represent the majority of transactions occurring on most retail web sites. However, merchants are also slowly increasing the number of orders where the merchandise is paid for with a foreign currency, the survey finds. For example, 88.1% of merchants give online shoppers the option of paying for a purchase with currency other than U.S. dollars and foreign currencies account for more than 25% of all monthly transactions at 40% of merchants participating in the Internet Retailer survey.

The fact that more merchants are accepting foreign currency as payment demonstrates that retailers are extending their brands into other international markets and finding a new source of visitors and shoppers. “Most of the foreign payments retailers are accepting are coming from consumers in Canada shopping online in the U.S.,” says Mott. “That’s a good trend because it shows that online merchants here are flexible to accommodate new groups of customers and give them ways to pay for merchandise in ways they are used to.”

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