Global Card Fraud up 14.6%, but Still Historically Low

Aug. 26, 2013

Merchants, issuing banks and acquirers lost $11.27 billion worldwide to fraud in 2012—up 14.6 percent from a year earlier, according to data from The Nilson Report. Of the global fraud total, card issuers lost 63 percent and merchants and acquirers lost the other 37 percent. And, while it generates only 23.5 percent of global card volume, the U.S. accounts for more than 47 percent of the fraud losses.

The report found fraud as percentage of total volume was lowest for PIN-based debit networks worldwide at 1.1 cents per $100 in total volume. The global card brands—Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, Diners Club, and JCB—averaged fraud losses of 6.13 cents for every $100 in total volume.

Unlike most of the rest of the world, where counterfeit fraud has been drastically reduced with the implementation of the EMV standard, counterfeit fraud in the U.S. continues to rise, the research found. The U.S. faces a double whammy with high card-not-present fraud totals as well because it leads the world in online sales, according to the report.

While this was the second year in a row that the Nilson Report found fraud as a percentage of total volume has risen, that’s after an eight-year stretch when it stayed flat and it remains near its historical low.