New research shows that 53% of Irish consumers plan to continue shopping online where possible due to Covid-19, highlighting the growing importance of eCommerce to the Irish economy. 

The research, commissioned by Visa, also reveals that restrictions on in-store trading during lockdown has spurred 24% of Irish small businesses to begin selling online for the first time.

But despite the increased appeal of eCommerce, thousands of Irish SMEs risk being unable to trade online successfully due to not having new security features enabled as part of the EU Payment Service Directive. 

Visa said that from January next year, online transactions in Europe will be subject to Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) measures.

These require banks to request additional information from consumers, such as a fingerprint or four-digit one-time passcode, to verify a purchase. 

It warned that those businesses that have not prepared for the regulation, and therefore cannot always deliver compliant transactions, may find that banks have to decline customer payments.

Visa said it is urging Irish small businesses to contact the company that hosts their online checkout service to help them implement 3D Secure, which it believes is the technology most suited for meeting SCA requirements.

Philip Konopik, Ireland Country Manager, Visa, said that since the outbreak of Covid-19, online trading has become increasingly vital for small businesses to reach their consumers. 

But he cautioned of the real risk that thousands of Irish small businesses will suddenly find this critical source of revenue switched off because they have failed to prepare for Strong Customer Authentication requirements. 

"We understand that small businesses have other priorities in the current environment, but the deadline set by the European Banking Authority is approaching quickly.