With businesses migrating to improve their presence online, attract new customers and provide services or products from afar, we need to know just how safe eCommerce is in Zambia.
There are many who fear being defrauded of their money especially if they pay before they reeieve the product or service, which has forced many eCommerce businesses to offer cash on delivery services or emphasize on a refund policy if the consumer does not like the product.
The issues that eCommerce businesses face in Zambia are mostly:
- a lack of proper ICT infrastructure,
- lack of proper payment gateways or financial systems in place
- general ignorance by potential consumers on how to use the internet,
- load shedding meaning consumers may not have access to the internet if their devices are down,
- lack of purchasing power by the majority poor,
- a general dependence on face-to-face trade and the general use of actual cash compared to credit/debit cards to make payments in the Zambian society.
There are however laws in place to protect both businesses and consumers online in Zambia. The Government has set stringent measures years ago to allow for business to happen online with serious repercussions for those who break the law. You can read more of these in the ICT Act of 2009 here.
How can eCommerce sites protect themselves from hacking incidences?
- Firstly they should make sure all their data is encrypted, this makes it hard for hackers to penetrate the site and obtain information.
- All data should be backed up to a remote server incase there is ever a website crash for some reason. eCommerce sites should set up system alerts that go off if there is ever a security threat to their site.
- They should urge customers to set up longer , safer passwords, and change them regularly.
- eBusinesses should also set up firewalls on their site and educate trusted employees on the security procedures or measures.
eCommerce is growing fast globally, with more people having less time to run errands and spending more time on mobile devices or other gadgets, making it easy for them to ‘run these errands’ and have items delivered at minimal fees wherever they need it to go all at the click of a button.
How can customers protect themselves when making ePayments?
- Set a strong password. Never using the same password for different accounts.
- They should also only use trusted sites or sellers with the most reviews on the site they decide to use. Use the cash on delivery method if too scared of prepayment.
- They should never give out very personal information such as bank account passwords, or even the login details to the site.
- Opt for cash on delivery if it is available as a payment option.
Mobile money is another option that mobile operators and other service providers are depending on to provide safer ePayments in Zambia. These include Airtel Money, MTN Mobile Money, Zoona, to name a few.
It’s great that there are online consumer laws that are already in place. To download a full report on the Information Economy Report 2015 that reviews all these issues as compiled by the United Nations globally, click here.