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Card fraud rises faster in UK than rest of Europe

The UK saw Europe's largest annual jump in card fraud losses for 2015, according to new research from analytics company Fico, based on data from business intelligence group Euromonitor International.

The study found that most of the 18% rise in losses came from online transactions, reflecting the growth in this channel, the ease of accessibility to funds and apparent lower risk for criminals, and the theft of personal data through cybercrime.

Card fraud rose in ten of the 19 countries studied, with Greece, Denmark, France and Russia posting the highest rises after the UK.

Fico said that the rise in UK card fraud equates to an additional £88.5 million lost, with 75% of that increase attributed to card not present (CNP) fraud. Some £42.4 million of CNP fraud reportedly came from eCommerce.

According to the research, the UK contributed about 43% of the total card fraud losses across the countries studied.

Fico fraud consultant Martin Warwick said customer expectations for a seamless purchasing experience have had an influence on the levels of fraud.

"We cardholders are very demanding, and if we don't get what we want then we let people know in the form of reviews and feedback, not to mention switching cards," he explained.

"Banks want to avoid intervening unnecessarily when customers are shopping on the internet. Ecommerce spending in the UK has nearly quadrupled since 2007, so you see why this is such a target for criminals."

Card fraud losses across the 19 countries were 10% higher than in 2014, with CNP fraud the dominant fraud type across territories.

"This isn't surprising, as Europe pushed criminals towards CNP with the roll-out and success of chip & PIN at point-of-sale," noted said Warwick.

"The digital revolution also fuelled this migration, creating an online funds kitty that is just too tempting for criminals."

He added that the financial services industry will have to find a way to make data useless to criminals, or change their approach to fraud detection analysis.

From the full list of the countries monitored for this research, the UK, Greece, Denmark, France, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Poland, Norway and Italy all saw year-on-year fraud levels rise, while Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary and the Netherlands experienced a drop in fraud. In Romania, Austria, Germany and Spain, card fraud levels remained flat.

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