Using the power of VisaNet to protect against fraud
How Visa is keeping our data safe behind the scenes
Unfortunately, the number of people falling victim to fraud every day is rising, with payment fraud expected to cost $40.62 billion in 2027 – 25% higher than in 20201.
And, as payments and money transfers have become much more digital in recent years, digital fraud has also increased. In the U.S. for example, complaints of suspected internet fraud surged by 61% in 2020 alone, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report, while cybercrime is expected to cost companies worldwide upwards of $10.5 trillion annually by 20252. Visa’s own Global Risk Investigations team observed a 9.2% increase in the number of recorded investigations over the period of October 2021 to September 20223.
Investing to fight the rise of cybercrime
In recent years, cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in how they operate and gain access to sensitive data as well as operating on an industrial scale and becoming more organised across borders. Poor security – both physical and digital – can sometimes be the weak link that gives fraudsters their opportunity, however there are a number of other techniques they use. Social engineering – when people are manipulated into sharing confidential data and personal information – is one example, or SIM swaps, where criminals take over mobile phone numbers and accounts, that can compromise even the most careful of people.
And while there is much that individuals can do to protect themselves, Visa is working tirelessly behind the scenes to stay one step ahead. Worldwide, we have invested over USD 10 billion (EUR9 billion) over the last five years in technology, including to reduce fraud and enhance network security. This has included USD500 million (EUR 470 million) on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data infrastructure, enabling us to power 100 different capabilities that use AI to protect our clients and customers.
Using next generation technology to stay ahead
Security is our superpower – and we are taking the fight to the cybercriminals. There can be no half measures when it comes to protecting the integrity and resilience of the payments ecosystem that millions rely on every day. We take an aggressive and multi-layered approach to combat the rising threat of malware, social engineering and brute force attacks by organised, well-funded and global criminal enterprises.
Visa has a huge number of full-time cybersecurity specialists across the world, with a dedicated team in Europe, using neural networks to analyse petabytes of data that enables them to protect our network. At the same time, we have created Cybersecurity Fusion Centres on three continents, delivering 24x7x365 risk and cybersecurity monitoring, incident response and investigations, and threat intelligence capabilities.
We have advanced, AI-powered fraud detection and prevention capabilities that can take terabytes of Visa data and isolate meaningful insights and actions for all our customers. We are able to analyse 232.5 billion transactions made by 3.8 billion cardholders every year and use this to help banks protect consumers from fraud in real-time. This tool, Visa Advanced Authorisation, is a crucial part of our fraud defences, blocking over USD2 billion (EUR1.9 billion) in fraudulent payments in the last 12 months alone.
Innovating to prevent global fraud
More recently, we have also developed risk and cybersecurity products and services like Visa Behavioural Analytics (VBA), which recognises when fraudsters are attempting an account takeover or bot-based attacks. And we also have considerable operational expertise that allows us to respond to emerging fraud attacks anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes, instead of hours or days, thereby keeping losses to a minimum.
All this means that last year, Visa proactively prevented an estimated USD27 billion (EUR25 billion) in global fraud4.
But we know that this is not enough. As fraud attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, we need to evolve existing security measures to keep businesses and consumers safe. For example, for some time now we’ve gone beyond PINs and passwords with Visa biometrics, that protect users with fingerprint, facial and voice recognition – or even the way consumers type and swipe on their phones as a form of identification.
We have also pioneered the use of tokens and tokenisation. Tokens are the unsung heroes of ecommerce – a simple, yet powerful concept that enables us to conceal and devalue sensitive payment data to stay ahead of fraudsters and make digital payments more secure. Tokens have 50% less fraud and, if provisioned well, can provide the same level of protection as chip/contactless transactions6.
There are already more Visa tokens (4 billion) worldwide than physical cards, with 1 out of 4 card not present transactions in Europe now made with tokens. Combined with biometrics, it allows payment providers to offer seamless strong customer authentication with consistent speed, security and simplicity.
As we support an increasingly digital future, Visa will continue to help protect and secure the ecosystem, just as we have done for the last 60+ years.
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3 VCA report, How to guard against fraudulent use of data, March 2023
4 Visa Annual Report2022: https://annualreport.visa.com/home/default.aspx
5 VisaNet, Europe, token vs. non-token card not present fraud, March 2022
6 Fraud Rate Reduction: Source: CNP Average is for set of Token participating Merchants (by Merchant DBA) (PAN & Token) with digital wallet TRs Feb-Apr 2022 Issuer region: Europe; Visa Token transactions compared to PAN-based transactions online