The U.S. is not alone in its struggle to contain credit card fraud. The United Kingdom and Australia are the sites of noteworthy battles against fraudsters, with mixed results.
In the U.K., losses to card fraud fell 5% to ?402.4 million ($720.3 million) in 2003 from ?424.6 million ($760 million) in 2002, according to the Association for Payment Clearing Services. That number is expected to drop further as migration to the Europay/MasterCard/Visa smart card standards is completed in 2005, according to Datamonitor, a London-based market research firm.
However, the lower fraud losses are due almost completely to the reduction of fraud committed abroad on U.K.-issued cards, whereas domestic fraud is still rising, albeit at a lower rate, Datamonitor says.
Card-not-present fraud, counterfeit fraud, and fraud from lost and stolen cards accounted for more than 80% of total fraud losses. And card-not-present fraud is at an all-time high-?116.4 million in 2003, a nearly three-fold increase from 1999 levels, according to Datamonitor.
What's more, the U.K. accounts for more than 70% of fraud losses in Europe.
But the rollout of EMV standards is expected to cut fraud tied to counterfeit and lost and stolen cards significantly, resulting in a reduction in domestic fraud, Datamonitor says. It notes that in France, the pioneer in smart cards, fraud losses reportedly dropped 50% with the introduction of PIN-based smart cards more than 10 years ago.
Without EMV standards, fraud losses on U.K.-issued cards would reach nearly ?1 billion in five years, Datamonitor says.
Meanwhile, as EMV rolls out, fraudsters are likely to turn to identity theft. Fraud losses tied to identity theft rose by 44% to reach ?29.7 million in 2003. Datamonitor says that the lack of an identity card system in the U.K. is partly to blame for the increase.
Australia, too, saw a decrease in credit card fraud in 2003-an 8% drop to AUD92.2 million ($67.3 million). Card fraud remained stable at 0.10% of total card spending, according to Datamonitor.
Prior to 2003, fraud losses steadily grew, from AUD61.3 million in 1999 to AUD100 million in 2002. Datamonitor attributes the recent decrease to the Australian card industry's increased anti-fraud activity.
But fraud losses could resume their climb if the Australian card industry lets down its guard, Datamonitors says. It notes that the rollout of EMV technology in Australia has stalled because the low incidence of fraud means that the cost of implementing it would be considerably larger than the actual fraud losses.
But Datamonitor argues that Australia could see an increase in counterfeit fraud as countries in the Asia-Pacific region adopt EMV.
Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry
Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry
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