New data shows sharp decline in card fraud in 2019 as industry fraud prevention measures bed down


14 August 2020

New data shows sharp decline in card fraud in 2019 as industry fraud prevention measures bed down

Data released today by the payments industry self-regulatory body Australian Payments Network (AusPayNet) revealed a 19.5% decline in card fraud in 2019, the biggest decline since fraud data was first published.

The overall decline in all card fraud, from $576m to $464m, came as total card spending rose 3.9% to a record $819b in 2019.

The fraud rate dipped from 73 cents to 57 cents for every $1000 spent on cards, a level not seen since 2014 and below that of comparable countries internationally.

Consumers are not liable for fraud on their cards and will be reimbursed as long as they take due care.

Card-not-present (CNP) fraud, mainly affecting online transactions, declined 18% to $403m in 2019. This decline coincided in part with the introduction in July 2019 of the CNP Fraud Mitigation Framework, a key industry-wide initiative to counter CNP fraud.

CNP fraud occurs when valid card details are stolen and used to make purchases or other payments without the card being present, usually online. It has grown steadily in recent years in line with the growth in e-commerce, dropping in 2019 but still accounting for 87% of all card fraud.

Under the CNP Fraud Mitigation Framework merchants who exceed fraud threshold targets are required to tighten their customer authentication. The framework encourages uptake of secure technologies such as tokenisation, strong customer authentication, real-time monitoring and machine learning.

AusPayNet’s data also shows sharp declines in other types of card fraud, with fraud on Lost and Stolen cards down 37% and Counterfeit/Skimming fraud down 14.3%.

AusPayNet CEO Andy White said the decline in card fraud and especially CNP fraud was encouraging and showed industry prevention initiatives were bearing fruit.

“It is early days but based on the 2019 data, the impact of the CNP fraud framework is starting to show,” Mr White said.

“The early experience reinforces that a whole of industry approach is required to reduce fraud.

“Just as chip technology has shut down the space for skimming and counterfeit fraud, we have reason to be optimistic that we have turned the corner on online card fraud. However, we need to remain vigilant as e-commerce volumes increase during the COVID 19 pandemic. Moreover, criminals will be looking for new opportunities through scams,” he said.

The AusPayNet fraud report includes a spotlight on payment scams, to increase awareness about this growing type of criminal activity.

The report cites ACCC figures showing that the losses from payment scams reported to the ACCC increased by 34% to $143m in 2019 and losses reported to all entities reached $634m.

“We know from experience that as one area of payments fraud become harder, criminal groups turn their attention to other areas and we may be seeing that now with payment scams,” Mr White said.

“Payments participants and consumers alike all have a role to play in being vigilant against fraud attempts and these are highlighted in today’s report,” he said.

Steps that consumers can take to prevent payments fraud include:

  • Only providing card details on secure and trusted websites; look for the locked padlock icon and be wary of offers that look to good to be true
  • Treating unsolicited emails and text messages from people they don’t know with suspicion; don’t click on the link provided and don’t be tricked into divulging confidential data such as passwords
  • Regularly checking statements and reporting any unusual transactions to their financial institution immediately
  • Registering for, and using, their financial institution’s online fraud prevention solutions, whenever prompted
  • Doing checks to make sure the online business is legitimate
  • Always keeping PC security software up-to-date and doing a full scan often

The Australian Payment Fraud report and data tables are available on the AusPayNet website.