'Tis the season — the spirit of giving is upon us. And as the consumer confidence stays strong, there may be even more giving than in previous years. The National Retail Federation estimates that U.S. holiday sales this year will exceed $655 billion, a record-breaking figure that excludes restaurant sales and represents a 3.6 percent increase over 2015. Deloitte, an international business consulting firm, also predicts a banner holiday season, with total purchasing forecasted to top $1 trillion. Gift wrappers are in for a very busy couple of months.
Ecommerce is expected to be a significant component of total sales — Deloitte estimates nearly $100 billion, almost 20 percent more than last year. With that much activity, it's only natural to wonder how you should pay — cash, credit card, debit card, and mobile payment options among the many choices.
Braden More, Head of Payment Strategy for Wells Fargo Bank, understands such concerns. "First things first: It's important for all of our customers to know that with our zero-liability protection, our debit and credit cardholders are not liable for fraudulent transactions that are promptly reported. And that's irrespective of whether the card was swiped, dipped, typed, tapped, or rolled with an old-fashioned 'knuckle buster,'" he says.
Understanding mobile payment
This type of protection extends to those using the newest and most cutting-edge technologies, says More.
With the Wells Fargo Mobile Banking app for your Android device, customers are a mere tap away from making a purchase with the Wells Fargo Wallet. And Wells Fargo Bank is working with other mobile solutions developed by the technology companies themselves. "We securely integrated with reputable partners to help our customers access their Wells Fargo Bank cards in Apple Pay™, Android Pay™, and Samsung Pay*," More says. For those just getting started with mobile purchasing, the Wells Fargo Bank website offers a clear introduction and overview with simple setup instructions.
Ecommerce is expected to account for $100 billion of the projected $1 trillion in total sales this holiday season.
With the computing power of modern phones, safety and security are equal to if not greater than that of a traditional plastic card, More notes. First, there's the protection provided by the phone's own user security. Going beyond that, "Wells Fargo Wallet uses a process called 'device binding' to help ensure that the contactless capability (the ability of your card to pay for a purchase without being scanned but by waving it in front of a reader) is linked to that device. If that 'link' is broken, the card transaction is deemed to be unauthentic and the transaction will be blocked," says More. Simply put, your ability to use Wells Fargo Wallet to pay on a mobile device is linked to your phone and your phone only.
Safety extends beyond the phone
Making purchases online is also becoming more secure, notes More. "By enrolling in Visa Checkout® , our cardholders enjoy a quick and secure checkout experience at many leading Internet sites and mobile apps," says More.
The chip cards that Wells Fargo Bank has been and is currently issuing feature additional security features. The interaction between terminal and chip makes it very difficult to replicate without an authentic card.
But when you're shopping this holiday season, there's more to technology than just how you pay — it can help you stay vigilant, which is a good idea not just during the holidays, but year-round. "By signing up for alerts in Online Banking, customers can be alerted when a charge occurs, helping keep them in control and making them easily able to monitor their accounts," More says.
As technology seemingly changes by the day, protection is an evolving process. "Beyond our zero-liability guarantee, it's important for our customers to know that we are using advanced technology to identify and block bad transactions in real-time on every card transaction," More says. "I cannot get into the details for security reasons, but our customers can rest assured that the best computer scientists in our company are working to keep our customers safe."
"As new technology emerges, we will continue to incorporate it into our strategy of helping our cardholders securely pay anytime, anywhere."