Cosmin Vladimirescu, MasterCard: It is extremely safe to make online credit card payments in Romania

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2012-10-12 10:21

Cosmin Vladimirescu has been working over 5 years at MasterCard Europe and since 2010 is the country manager for Romania and Moldova, after an experiennce of 7 years in cards fraud at Bancpost. Therefore he has a relevant knowledge about one of the major impediments in the development of card payments: clients mistrust in safe transactions at POS, ATM or internet.

However, as shown by statistics, online card payments have been increasing year afer year, indicating that Romanians trust in secure card payments over the Internet is increasing.

Another reason for reluctancy to use a card is the user low level of monitoring and control of money available to it, which decreases the degree of comfort when paying with a credit card. Not a few card users find themselfs in delicate situations that do not know how much money they have available on a card or if they have money left from the wage or have already entered their credit limit made available by the bank overdraft.

By offering users additional services like those available on card with display, which allow a greater control over transactions, user confidence in secure card payments card will increase. talked about these issues with Cosmin Vladimirescu:

"In e-commerce, at the Romanian online stores, credit card transactions with MasterCard and Maestro increased by 92% in 2011 over the previous year. (In the first half of this year the growth of card transations was 38% e.n.). A trend that shows that more and more Romanians trust online credit card transactions. And they have every reason to do so, because it is extremely safe to do online payments, "he says.

One of the reasons, he added, is that MasterCard, as well as other card organizations, has implemented an additional security level for online card transactions: 3 D Secure. "We started implementing the MasterCard Secure Code in 2004, the first such action in Eastern Europe at the time, so that almost all Romanian online stores currently have implemented 3D Secure system," says Vladimirescu. The cards activation process in this additional online security system has been pretty slowly but MasterCard is working with banks to accelerate the cards activation by their users.

To pay with a card it's cheaper than with cash

Significant reductions for card payments in supermarkets and restaurants, including online shopping, CFR railroad tickets purchase tickets, reservations of holidays and other products and services on discount sites are some of the MasterCard actions to promote the payment card additional benefits in comparison to the use of cash.

"We are following a perpetual educational effort, planned from the begining on several levels: both from us to consumers, through cards, but also with the traders help, through campaigns in supermarkets and in the online environment, all containing a very strong educational component. We are looking for some additional benefits that make people see the advantages of card payment compared to alternative cash payment, "says Cosmin Vladimirescu.

On the other hand, he explains, there will always be some resistance to change from consumers, an inertia that card processors try to change it through the implementation of benefits for each card payment and to let consumers know about it by a more efficient communication.

"On the one hand we need to work on benefits, so we have signed partnerships with online retailers, especially in areas with strong growth, as the descount sites. We wanted to give people an advantage for paying with a card as an option to cash, while we tried to deliver the most effective message to consumers via banks, through partnerships with e-commerce, by EduCard program, "he adds.

How do we manage our budget and spendings with a display card

After the introduction of contactless cards, MasterCard launched last year in Romania a new innovation, an European premiere: the diplay card launched by Banca Carpatica and Credit Europe Bank. A type of card that presents a huge advantage for consumers, especially in the current envioronment, when the budget and spendings control is becoming more important.

Cosmin Vladimirescu: "The display cards potential is huge, because on the display you can receive information in real time about how much money you have in your bank account, or how many loyalty points you accumulated, which was the last transaction or the last three transactions you did or a promotional message from the bank or merchant. You just put de card in a POS, which tells you that you have 10% discount."

The display card is, in fact, part of a much larger package of services called "inControl", now in pilot phase in several countries, that MasterCard wants to bring to Romania.

Cosmin Vladimirescu: "What we want to do is to give more power to consumers, to bring the information closer and to let them decide the way they make a transaction. Through this platform you can set some paying plans: for example, the card can display an alert when you exceed a predetermined budget spending. You know that you receive a salary of 2,000 lei on your card and you want to spend only a quater at the supermarket. To control this, each transaction of this category (supermarket segment) is counted by de card system, the amounts are collected, so the moment you reach 25% of the money spent on card, you get a warning message on the display. "

So, adds the CEO of MasterCard Romania, this service not only tells you how much money you have on the card, but it also shows you how much money you spend for restaurant, gas station, supermarket or elsewhere.

Besides, the other products of “inControl” package can give you the power to make decisions vis-a-vis the place of the transaction or to authorize a maximum amount for a transaction.

"For example, if I use the card only in Romania and go on vacation once a year, I can set some exceptions in my MasterCard system, through an account that can be accessed anywhere, anytime, from your mobile phone or computer, like this: my card can not be used outside the country except for the period when I am in holiday. We monitor all transactions and we can reject those who are not in the criteria set by the consumer, "says Cosmin Vladimirescu.

"This is also a fraud prevention measure. By the way, the card frauds are extremely low in Romania, we are well below the European average, but this is less important, because its just us and your readers that know it. However, there are many consumers for whom safety is a concern. There is something in their mind that says . For them, we have such solutions. Therefore we want to bring as many services in their comfort zone so they can feel very confortable to pay with a card", adds Cosmin Vladimirescu.


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