Card fraud will be a $1 billion problem in 2019

The Australian Payments Network is expected to publish new fraud data in the first week of July.

At a recent security forum in Sydney, APN chief executive Leila Fourie hinted that the soon-to-be-released dataset for the December half 2016 would not look pretty.

If the fraud rate continues to blow out, merchants will be copping chargebacks exceeding A$1 billion before the end of the decade.

Paul Greenberg, CEO of the National Online Retailers Association, is warning that public confidence in the credit card schemes will begin to wither unless banks invest in meaningful fraud prevention systems to rein in the problem.

“There’s only so long the buck can stop with online merchants,” says Greenberg.

Online fraud is an even bigger problem in the United Kingdom where online retailers account for a higher share of consumer sales.

UK banks such as Barclays and Santander triggered a public furore earlier this year when research collated by the country’s peak consumer body showed that both banks were declining requests from cardholders for reimbursements after fraudsters got access to their card information.

The UK financial services ombudsman scheme has been flooded with cases from irate cardholders complaining that banks such as Barclays were no longer honouring the “zero liability” rules of the Visa and Mastercard schemes.

The banks claimed in most cases that cardholders had not effectively protected their account details.

Between April 2015 and February 2017, the UK ombudsman adjudicated on 975 such complaints brought against Barclays and found in favour of complainants in 36 per cent of cases.

“I think everybody is watching what is happening in the United Kingdom to see if Barclays and Santander are going to get away with it,” says Grant Halverson, a former head of Diners Club’s Australian, and current principal of the McLean Roche Consulting Group.

“There are obviously reservations among the credit card schemes because they know that the zero liability rule is central to maintaining public confidence in their programs.”

This article first appeared in Banking Day.

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