Study: US generates 21 pct. of card volume, 48 pct. of card fraud

Fraud losses incurred by banks and merchants on all credit, debit, prepaid general purpose and private label payment cards worldwide reached $16.31 billion last year on global card volume of $28.84 trillion, according to research by The Nilson Report.

The breakdown: For every $100 in volume, 5.65 cents was fraudulent. For the year, fraud grew by 19 percent, outpacing volume, which grew by 15 percent.

Fraud losses occurred from counterfeiting, card-not-present, fraudulent application, lost and stolen, card not received, and other much smaller categories according to Nilson.

Card issuers worldwide absorbed 62 percent of the fraud, while merchants accounted for the remaining 38 percent, Nilson said

Measuring only the global general purpose card brands — UnionPay, Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Discover and Diners Club, and American Express — total volume was $23.77 trillion, up 14.8 percent, with fraud losses of $15.45 billion, up 18.5 percent.

The U.S. accounted for 48.2 percent ($7.86 billion) of gross card fraud losses worldwide, though it generated only 21.4 percent ($6.187 trillion) of total volume. U.S. fraud losses equaled 12.75 cents for every $100 in total volume last year. Fraud in all other regions combined was only 3.73 cents per $100.

“Multiple factors contributed to that gap,” said David Robertson, Publisher of The Nilson Report. “Nothing mattered more than the lack of an EMV-compliant infrastructure.”

Counterfeit cards accounted for 49 percent of all card fraud losses worldwide last year. U.S. issuers were slammed by losses due to counterfeiting, fueled by data center breaches that made available tens of millions of stolen card account numbers, as well as personal cardholder identification information. U.S. issuers lost $3.89 billion last year due to counterfeiting — 23.9 percent of all global fraud losses.

For 2015 through 2020, Nilson expects worldwide card fraud total of $183.29 billion. For the year 2020, global card fraud will exceed $35.54 billion. Losses will rise to 5.74 cents per every $100 in 2015 before falling to 5.26 cents in 2020, the report said.

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