Online shopping is getting simpler

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Online shopping is getting simpler

Starting next month, Chinese fashionistas who can’t live without the coat worn by actress Jun Ji-hyun in the popular Korean drama “My Love From the Star” will be able to buy it a lot easier than before.

Rather than being restricted to a few foreigner-only online shopping malls, they will be able to shop at any mall they want and won’t need to obtain an authentication certificate or to install ActiveX on their computers.

The Korean government yesterday announced a set of deregulatory policies to help boost foreign buying of Korean goods online. The policies will allow payment system service providers to share credit card information with card companies and store such information as long as the provider has an adequate information security system.

When approved by the government, those providers can store information and launch their own one-click service like Paypal.

To prevent any information leaks, the Financial Services Commission said it will launch stronger inspection and vigilance systems on those service providers.

This was part of the FSC’s solution to the so-called Cheon Song-yi coat problem.

A raincoat worn by that character and played by actress Jun Ji-hyun in the SBS drama has become a symbol of unnecessary regulation in Korean online shopping, and President Park Geun-hye addressed the issue at the government’s deregulation meeting in March.

“With these follow-up measures, the government hopes to reduce the financial circle’s longstanding practice of insisting on the public authentication certificate as the only method of self-authentication and its use of ActiveX,” said Jeong Chan-woo, vice chairman of the FSC, at a briefing yesterday.

“We hope this also helps the development of the local online commerce industry and raise the competency of Korean-made electronic payment technology in relation to overseas services like Paypal.”

The FSC announced the first batch of deregulations in May, in which the watchdog lifted the requirement of an authentication process on online purchases smaller than 300,000 won ($292) for both local and foreign shoppers.

Foreign shoppers became able to purchase fashion and beauty items without installing a cyber security tool called ActiveX that only operates on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser and undergoing self-identification via the government-approved public authentication certification. They could do that at a small number of online shopping malls designated as ActiveX-free zones for foreigners. Those malls, run by local and large online marketplaces, don’t fully serve the demand of foreign shoppers are looking for, critics say.

Since May, local online shoppers have also been freed from the authentication process technically, but Korean card companies and payment service companies asked for the certificate for purchases over 300,000 won. Most of them cited reasons like customer information protection.

Starting next month, regardless of the amount spent, Korean consumers can choose an authentication method of cell phone passwords or the existing public authentication certificate.

The FSC will offer incentives to those card companies and payment service companies who come up with strong alternative authentication methods. All shoppers need before completing payment is to input the confirmation passwords sent to their cell phone instead of obtaining the authentication certification.

BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]





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