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France Takes Unwelcome Spot at Top of Europe’s Fraud Loss Table

European countries vie for various sports prizes, but one prize no one wants has just been claimed by France. In terms of the highest card fraud losses for 2012, France is at the top of the league — edging out longtime champion the UK.

As revealed in FICO’s updated map of card fraud in Europe, France now has 29% of the region’s losses, compared to the UK’s 27%. It’s a sour place to be for any country, but particularly for France, which was an early adopter of the chip and PIN strategy that drove down fraud rates across Europe.

As my colleague Martin Warwick notes, despite a rise of 14% last year, UK card fraud losses were still 36% lower in 2012 than at their peak in 2008. By contrast, France’s overall fraud losses grew 65% between 2007 and 2012, which translated to an additional €174 million of card fraud losses over the period.

European fraud
However, France’s “win” is no cause for celebration in London or other European capitals — unfortunately, nearly all the European countries experienced a rise in fraud in 2012. According to data from Euromonitor International, a provider of global strategic market intelligence, European card fraud losses were 6% higher last year than in 2011. France, Russia and the UK made up more than 80% of this increase. France alone generated nearly half of the total increase in losses, but Russia’s losses are growing the fastest, with 2012 totals reaching three times the level of those reported in 2010.

Compared to most regions, Europe has a sophisticated approach to fighting card fraud. But as these new numbers show, criminals aren’t throwing in the towel. Every card issuer needs to maintain a vigilant approach and use the latest technology to combat the threat — or their country could well wind up at the top of next year’s fraud loss table.

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