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How Much Is European Card Fraud Rising?

Heightened awareness of card fraud has undoubtedly brought consumers into the fight, teaching them to be more careful with their PIN entries. But it may also have led to the perception that card fraud is out of control.

In fact, card fraud growth across Europe is not high, as new data from FICO and Euromonitor International shows. Our new white paper on European card fraud shows that, across the region, card fraud rose just 6% last year. In the UK, card fraud losses rose by £29 million in 2014, also a 6% rise.

Chart showing rise in European Card Fraud and UK Card Fraud Source: FICO and Euromonitor

Of course, that’s not the end of the story. Some countries fared far better than others. And even in the UK, the low overall rise masks large shifts in so-called “cross-border” fraud, where criminals use data on cards from one country to commit fraudulent transactions in another country.

In the UK, FICO previously reported a 25% increase in cross-border fraud on debit cards in 2014, compared to 2013. Nearly half of the fraudulent transactions occurred in the US, which is heading toward EMV adoption but isn’t there yet.

For those who study the trends — or follow this blog — it will come as no surprise that CNP and cross-border fraud dominated the numbers. Still, even CNP is hardly running unchecked. In the UK, for instance, ecommerce spending in the UK more than doubled between 2008 and 2014, but CNP fraud losses grew just 1 percent in that time.

The report also reveals the countries with the highest fraud in terms of basis points. France topped the list, followed by Greece and the UK, which is the same ranking as last year. In terms of growth of card fraud losses, Russia topped the table with a 24% rise, but bear in mind that card sales in the same period grew 36 percent.

Ranking of 19 European countries by fraud basis points Source: FICO and Euromonitor

For more information, download the Insights white paper How Europe’s Card Fraud Is Changing.

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