My friend Anuj loves online shopping. A well-established HNI from Mumbai, he has a penchant for trendy stylist watches and he keeps checking and buying online. One day, he received a message of a hefty amount charged to his credit card while the card was safely placed in his wallet. It was charged from an ambiguous website for 10000 USD for buying a Rolex watch. In reality, he didn’t buy anything. I wish we had tokenization at that time. 

Why we prefer online shopping to physical shopping

There are many reasons why we prefer online shopping. The fast pace of life where almost all of us are engaged in multiple things other than our profession, convenience and that desire to rest and chill out. Access to world-class products across different brands from various parts of the world is one of the triggers. More dispensable translates to more online shopping.

According to a report by BCG, there has been a sporadic rise in online shopping. BCG expects these numbers to increase by 2.5 times over the next decade, accompanied by nearly sixfold growth in online retail spending.

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How big online shopping will be in the coming days

“We expect online shoppers to nearly triple over the next decade and online retail spending to grow nearly sixfold to reach USD 300 Bn by 2030. COVID has further accelerated online shopper and spending growth by 3-4 Years. The pandemic pushed new-to-online shoppers and existing shoppers to increase their online purchasing, as physical shopping channels closed or became difficult to access,” BCG India managing director and senior partner Nimisha Jain said in a statement.

Why we shop online ? 

The growth in online shopping is particularly true for us. My wife and I are entrepreneurs and we are trying to establish a start-up. With two beautiful kids at home, the second most thing valuable for us is time. Money being the first one obviously. The time and convenience of physical shopping are almost on the way out. Unlike a true bong, I don’t remember when was the last time I visited a vegetable and fish market.

The same holds for Madhushree. We rely on apps where she keeps shopping for groceries, fish, meat and even workbooks for the kids.When travelling, we can order stuff for the kids and get it delivered to Kolkata. For parents who are not that e-com savvy, we have to keep ordering for them too.For all this, my wife leaves her card credentials so that shopping becomes convenient and easy. It does not need a rocket scientist to understand and explain the risk associated with this.

RBI mandate on tokenization 

The recent mandate from RBI on the online use of Debit/Credit cards and for all online transactions is a welcome change towards the safety and security of shoppers. It’s tokenization that improves security for every online transaction. Come 1st October it will be mandatory for all credit and debit card data used in online, point of sale, and in-app transactions to be replaced with tokens.

What is Tokenization? 

When simplified, tokenization is the replacement of the actual card details of a consumer with an alternate code called a token. Next time for an online transaction the merchant will ask for tokenization of the card and once done from the bank only the token will get stored in the merchant database. In case, unfortunately, the data gets compromised the hacker only gets hold of the token. The actual card details remains secured which prohibits them to use it further.

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How are we gearing up for the change?

Big retail players like Amazon and others have embraced tokenization to ensure the safety of the customers. They are also coordinating with other merchandisers and banks to ensure there is minimum disruption. However, smaller merchants are still not ready. They need more time to set up infrastructure and be completely ready for tokenization. Hence, expect minor hiccups on this front.


On a lighter note, there will always be one risk though. The risk of overshopping and stretching beyond the budget when carried away. Wish there was a token to protect that also!

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