allpay opinion: "Collaborative approach needed to solve contactless fraud challenge"

All parties, including consumers, banks, card manufacturers and retailers, should play a part in the fight against contactless fraud

Recent figures from the UK Cards Association have shown that, in May 2015 alone, 1.1 billion card transactions were made, representing a year-on-year increase of 10 per cent. The fall in the average transaction value, from £47.97 to £46.92 in the same period, has been attributed to the rise of contactless, with Transport for London’s adoption of the payment method cited as a key driver of this growth.

Payments specialist allpay has suggested that despite its rapidly growing presence, customers remain vulnerable to the widespread danger of contactless crime, and advises a collaborative approach between all parties to help tackle the problem. 

Marshall Haldane, Card Services Director at allpay, comments that it can be easy to point the finger at one party for the increase in contactless fraud: “Alarmingly, inexpensive card scanning devices capable of reading personal details remain widely available, putting customers at risk of having their information compromised. Between banks, payment processors, manufacturers and vendors or retailers, a collaborative approach is the best course of action, because there are so many points at which a fraudster can break the chain.

“Banks clearly have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their customers’ details, especially with the contactless payment limit rising from £20 to £30 in September this year. Efforts by banks to fight fraud have been met with a certain level of success, but different avenues for fraudulent activity – combined with new methods of measuring incidences – means that overall, occurrences of fraud are growing in volume. More definitely needs to be done in terms of improving data security and investing in the latest anti-fraud technologies, as well as increasing stringency in the checking of abnormal transaction patterns,” he said.

Haldane continued: “Card manufacturers are also key to the fraud-fighting process, and it is highly important to continue to employ the latest security features, as well as closely manage physical access to manufacturing facilities. At allpay for example, we employ sophisticated ID authentication, high-quality CCTV and comprehensive screening processes for staff to ensure our production facility is fully secure.

 “Retailers and payment processors should also involve themselves fully in this process, by being extra-vigilant when checking address details and card security numbers, as well as investing in software that can automatically flag suspicious activity. The retailer’s reputation – not just the card owner’s bank balance, is very much on the line here,” warned Haldane.

 He added: “Finally, the customer’s responsibility is a fairly self-explanatory one: remain vigilant at all times, maintain close relationships with the bank and never be afraid to report any suspicious activity. It sounds simple, but we are all guilty of carelessness when it comes to protecting our contactless cards from opportunistic thieves.

 “With contactless well and truly established, it is time to put fraud detection and elimination at the top of the agenda. Complacency here is just as much an enemy as the fraudsters themselves: everyone involved in the contactless transaction process has a role to play. Measures such as continued investment in cutting-edge detection technology, consistent innovation in card manufacture and unwavering vigilance from all parties when monitoring transactions are crucial,” concluded Haldane.