Security and trust at every level

Nothing is more important to Visa Europe than keeping our payment system secure. See how it all started 50 years ago and how we are future-proofing to ensure security is balanced with convenience.

Our technological innovations and advances in risk management ensure that everyone can feel confident about the transactions they make and the safety of their personal data.

Peace of mind with every transaction

Hackers, phishers, keyloggers, card skimmers – whatever guise they come in, one thing is certain – data thieves are getting increasingly sophisticated in their understanding of the payments system. They attack it from all sides, using multiple tools and tactics. And their ability to take advantage of new opportunities to commit fraud globally is growing fast. So it’s vital that Visa Europe stays many steps ahead of the technically-savvy cybercriminals.

So how do we counter this constantly changing threat, while still keeping Visa payments convenient, easy, and reliable? As well as investing heavily in advanced fraud-fighting technologies, we work closely with our members, retailers, and businesses – promoting accountability around securing sensitive consumer data.

Totally committed to payment card security

There’s no single ‘magic bullet’ to eliminate fraud, which is why Visa Europe has developed multiple layers of security. We use methods such as anti-counterfeit measures and neural networks for risk scoring each transaction in real time. No single point of failure should then occur in the payment chain.

The results of our total-systems approach speak for themselves: fraud rates have declined by more than two-thirds in the past two decades and are now at near historic lows.

Ultimately, data security is more than just protecting people’s money; it’s about protecting the peace of mind that our entire payment system depends on.

Closing down fraud as it happens

Attacks on the payments system range from the very small - for example, an individual retailer/business skimming cards at a shop, right through to large-scale attempts to compromise data from a retailer/business or processor’s systems.

Behind the scenes, Visa’s fraud professionals are working constantly to identify patterns of fraud. Because we see fraud data from all of our card issuers, we are better able to ‘join the dots’ and identify where a potential problem exists. If, for example, we see reports of fraud on cards that have all been used in one particular location, we can alert our members to this fact. It is then over to the card issuers to act on this information.

Where substantial evidence exists, we support a process of forensic analysis to identify and shut down the compromise.

The size of the task may be huge, but we are winning. The level of fraud on Visa Europe's cards in 2012 remained at 4 cents for every €100 spent.

Stopping the fraudster in real time

First launched in 2010, the Real Time Scoring service applies a risk score to a transaction as part of the authorisation process. Based on this score, the issuer can decide to approve or decline the transaction, or to closely monitor subsequent transactions. During 2012, more than 156 members used the service to score more than 800 million transactions.

Visa Europe Real Time Scoring uses neural network and predictive technologies to identify suspicious transactions in real time. A risk score is generated for each individual transaction as it passes through the Visa payment system, reaching the card issuer in milliseconds and helping them decide whether or not to accept a transaction.

Supporting Europe’s fight against fraud

Visa Europe works closely with both law enforcement agencies and the European Commission on ways to counteract card fraud. These measures have significantly helped to raise awareness of the impact of card crime and contributed to a reduction of fraud levels across Europe.

The European Commission’s Fraud Prevention Action Plan (FPAP) focuses on:

  • The security of payment products and systems
  • Co-operation between public authorities and the private sector
  • Integration of new member states in the EU fraud prevention framework
  • Closer ties with neighbouring countries to Europe who affect the fraud situation.

We support the plan and are involved in the fraud prevention expert group, the steering group, and various subgroups. These groups play an important role in sharing information and best practice to prevent fraud, especially at cross-border level.

Visa Europe has produced a guide to help law enforcement officers recognise the signs of organised card crime. The guide has been welcomed across Europe, and is already having an effect on card crime detection and prosecution. For more information, view our Helping to fight card crime video.

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