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Four Reasons Why Using WhatsApp Is Safe for Shoppers

More and more people globally are embracing the convenience and cost benefits of chat channels such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Businesses are also opting for these channels as an effective way to communicate with their customers. But some users are still wary of using these channels to initiate transactions.

What many customers don’t realize is that buying a product, topping up airtime, or paying electricity bills on WhatsApp is just as safe as shopping via a regular e-commerce store, a banking app, or even a physical, neighborhood store.

Here are four reasons why WhatsApp is just as secure as regular e-commerce channels.

End-to-end encryption boosts your privacy

WhatsApp ensures privacy through the use of a technology called end-to-end encryption. This is a defined communication method where only the users who are communicating can read the messages being exchanged.

If I am chatting with my local pizza store to order a pizza, only the store and I see what is in the messages. You literally hold the encryption key in your hand. Only if someone were to steal your phone would he or she see the conversation.

Payments take place outside the chat channel

Even though we initiate transactions in the chat channel, the payment is processed via the same method as when we shop via a website.

Let’s say you ordered a pizza. The store owner lets you know that you owe $10.

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If you pay with a credit card, you send those details via a secure link to the merchant’s payment provider, not to the merchant. So, once you hit the “pay” button in the chat, you are taken to a separate screen where you enter your details. The pizza store never sees your card details and the payment happens in the same, secure way that it would if you were using the pizza store’s website. Your banking details are safe; not even WhatsApp can see them.

Safely kept cards stay safe

Remaining vigilant is still vital, no matter which channel you use to make a payment. Just like in the real world, criminals can steal your card and try to use it to make fraudulent transactions, even over a chat channel.

Banks have sophisticated machines which monitor for fraudulent behavior. So, for instance, if the same card has been used five times in the same day to buy pizza, it will trigger the bank to investigate. All the usual warnings still apply. If you have lost your bank card, you should report it immediately and you should check your bank statements each month. Fortunately, most banks offer their customers protection against card fraud and customers can lodge a payment dispute and claim their money back. The point is, that this is no different than using their card over a website.

Your phone adds a layer of security

While it may take some time before you realize your credit card has been stolen, we all know immediately if our phone is missing. With the use of one-time passwords or OTPs, we can quickly see if the person attempting to make a purchase with a card is a fraudster, simply by asking them to input an OTP sent to the card owner’s phone. Together with account passwords, OTP gives you an additional means to authenticate your transaction and lower risk.

Good security hygiene such as frequently changing passwords, reading security updates from our banks and being alert will always apply, but for those looking for a convenient way to engage and transact with their favorite brands, WhatsApp ticks all the boxes.

No doubt, chat is the next big thing for U.S commerce with 82% of millennials already wanting to make purchases via chat apps like the ones they use to talk to friends and family, a new survey shows. WhatsApp will no doubt help propel the growth of chat commerce given its safety.

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