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Credit card fraud drops as industry fights back

Simon Quicke

Credit card fraud numbers have revealed a drop in that type of crime with resellers being praised for their vigilence in fighting criminals.

Although the latest figures from the banking and card payments industry show that credit, debit card and online banking fraud has dropped there has been a rise in cheque and telephone banking losses.

Losses on UK bank cards fell by 7% between 2011 and the previous year to £341m with efforts by firms to sign up to protection schemes including Verified by Visa as one tool that has countered the fraudsters along with greater awareness by both resellers and customers around the potential risks.

Melanie Johnson, chair of The UK Cards Association, said that fighting fraud continued to be a priority and it was making a difference.

"This is the third year card fraud losses have fallen - clear proof that our endeavours to fight fraud are packing a punch. Customers have also played their part in driving down losses by taking heed of advice about looking after their personal and financial details," she said.

But Pat Carroll, CEO, of authentication specialist ValidSoft, said that legitimate transactions had been prevented from going through along with fraudulent ones by twitchy banks.

"In recent months banks have been taking a far more aggressive approach to transaction declines and in the case of cross-border transactions, on average nine out of ten declined transactions are in fact legitimate," he said.

"This is the credit card equivalent of bricking up your doors and windows to prevent burglary - very effective, but hardly a long term solution.  This very blunt instrument approach to fraud reduction may reduce absolute fraud, but it also causes widespread consumer dissatisfaction and costs the banks highly in lost revenue and administration costs," he added. 

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