A recent report from the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee has found that only 18 per cent of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK were trading online in 2005 with less than 1 per cent generating all their sales through the web. With security concerns being cited as the main factor preventing small businesses from having a stronger online presence, Paul Thomas, Merchants Manager at online payments club ValU argues that more education is needed to reassure SMEs of the benefits of trading online. He comments:

“The risk of internet fraud is obviously an issue no SME can afford to ignore. With one in five adults in the UK already having been a victim of credit card fraud, SMEs are understandably nervous about embarking upon an e-commerce offering. However, whilst fraud remains a problem, there are a number of payment providers and organisations who are taking a responsible attitude to growing the sector through the development of secure payment processes. Secure payments clubs like ValU provide SMEs, particularly those in niche markets, with secure online payment processes. All members (both consumers and merchants) are protected from fraudulent transactions through secure payments platforms such as Verified by Visa and 3D-Secure, stringent registration processes and merchant rules. Consumers have the confidence to shop as they know the environment is both safe and secure and the SMEs are happy as the payments options address their business goals, whilst at the same time instilling trust in potential customers.

Clearly there are huge opportunities for SMEs who choose to take their business online, particularly if they focus on niche areas that are unlikely to be dominated by big-name players. However, SMEs need to be re-assured that the problems posed by internet fraud can be easily addressed. As long as they ensure that the payment methods they are offering their customers are safe and secure, the investment they make will not only help restore public confidence and boost online spending but will also help the SMEs to take advantage of the geographical reach of the Internet and make it possible for them to compete in the global market at low cost.”

Notes to Editors

About ValU
A membership-based payments service, ValU provides small merchants in the online content and mobile commerce sectors with the security and simplicity of an acquiring relationship, acting as the interface between merchant, consumer and bank. The club, consisting of consumers and retailers who pass the stringent registration process, provides a service that is free of charge.

ValU is a trademark of ValU Payments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Upaid Systems, Ltd.

For more information, please visit www.valu-payments.com

For further information please contact:

Catriona Biggart / Elena Dunn
Skywrite communications
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7608 4650
Email: skywrite@skywritecomms.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 23rd August 2007