REDMOND, Wash., December 7, 1998 — As the holiday season approaches, millions of consumers are avoiding the crowds, searching out bargains and saving valuable time by doing their shopping online. This Christmas, online merchants using Microsoft platforms expect to sell over $1 billion in merchandise and services. Ensuring that these transactions are made safely is a top priority.
To protect customers’ personal information and credit card numbers, online merchants use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Private Communication Technology (PCT), both of which are supported by Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 3.0 and higher. These technologies encrypt information exchanged between computers, making sensitive information inaccessible to eavesdroppers, imposters and vandals. Internet Explorer also supports Authenticode certificate technology, which ensures that plug-ins and ActiveX controls come only from trusted, secure sources.
Consumers and merchants using Microsoft Wallet are also ensured a safe and consistent shopping experience. Wallet provides a convenient way to organize and protect credit card, payment and shipping information, taking advantage of the security features in Windows and Internet Explorer to make online shopping as easy and safe as a trip to the mall. Dozens of online merchants, including Business Depot, Bombay Company and Universal Studios are using Wallet to provide users with a convenient and safe way to shop online.
This holiday season, Microsoft has taken extra steps to guarantee a safer shopping experience for users of MSN, the company’s network of Internet products and services. “We only work with merchants who do secure online transactions,” says Deborah Levinger, Senior Business Manager for MSN Shopping. “It’s part of the criteria before becoming a partner.” In addition, MSN Shopping is joining with FirstUSA Bank to offer a 100 percent safety guarantee to FirstUSA card members, an offer that will soon be extended to all online users. All merchants on MSN Shopping are also rated by Bizrate, which constantly monitors and reports on customer satisfaction with online retailers.
While these technologies make electronic commerce easier and safer, consumers should still take the following precautions when shopping online:
Make sure you have a secure connection before providing credit card numbers or other sensitive information. Don’t purchase online products and services from merchants who don’t offer secure connections.
Buy only from reputable merchants. Services such as Bizrate evaluate merchants on the basis of customer satisfaction; all merchants on MSN Shopping have Bizrate ratings.