Online Xmas shopping to exceed £5 billion

Online Xmas shopping to exceed £5 billion

APACS warns over security issues as UK shoppers flood online for yuletide splurge

Spending on online Xmas shopping will exceed £5 billion in the UK this year, according to APACS, the UK payments association.

With so much money being spent on ‘presents management systems’ the association is anxious to raise awareness of the security issues involved.

In an attempt to minimise fraud, it has published a consumer advice guide, with accompanying website, aimed at making online Christmas shopping a fraud-free experience.

The new advice website - – aims to do for shoppers what achieved for online banking customers.

But by warning people of the dangers of fraud, will this web site merely deter online shopping?

APACS thinks not. Its figures show that the number of adults shopping online has more than doubled in the last five years to almost 30 million. The volume of online shoppers is a tide that cannot be turned back, according to Sandra Quinn, director of communications at APACS, so the association wants to do everything it can to pre-warn shoppers and minimise the dangers.

“The internet allows us to take the stress out of Christmas shopping, but it’s important that people take steps to protect themselves – which is why we’ve launched this new guide and website,” said Quinn.

Like a herd of wildebeest wandering towards a river crossing, the majority of shoppers will emerge from the experience unharmed. But a few unlucky ones will meet a grisly fate. Next Monday will see the most action.

“Monday 3 December is likely to be one of the busiest online shopping days of the year. More and more of us are buying our Christmas presents online and the evidence suggests we like to do so about three weeks before the big day to ensure they are delivered on time,” said Quinn.

APACs advocates simple measures to keep safe, such as protecting your PC with the most up-to-date anti-virus software and registering your card with MasterCard SecureCode or Verified by Visa.

But will these simple guidelines be remembered in the frenzy of Xmas shopping, when all rational judgement is seemingly suspended anyway? APACS, the trade body that gives banks, building societies and card issuers a forum where they can work together on non-competitive issues, will have those figures in the new year.