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Payments fraud hits bottom line of Australian businesses



Richard Wormald, Division President Australasia, Mastercard

Tech

By Richard Wormald

Most of us are spending more and more time online these days, businesses and consumers alike. And as Australian businesses continue to face the ever-increasing threat of cybersecurity, it’s important to acknowledge the link between data breaches and fraud.

Payments fraud (fraud that takes place when fraudulent transactions are performed under a payments card) can be serious, costing money and a loss of trust.

Forty-nine per cent of business owners said they do not possess enough knowledge to protect their business from payment-related fraud, according to research from Vocalink, a Mastercard company. Technology can play a critical role in protecting businesses against payment fraud and in safeguarding information for everyone’s benefit.

Exposure landscape

In our connected world, the value of any business is increasingly tied to data. As society becomes more interconnected, customer expectations continue to escalate, the quantity and value of information held online has increased, and so have efforts to steal and exploit that information. As digital payment methods continue to proliferate, the chances of getting exposed to cybersecurity risks such as online fraud, information theft, and malware or virus attacks, are also increasing.

Concerns are growing among Australian businesses, with half of business owners admitting to not possessing enough knowledge to protect their business in the event of an incident of payments fraud. An alarming state of confusion and helplessness exists for businesses, of which 54 per cent have indicated that they don’t know enough about vulnerabilities and how fraudsters infiltrate and attack.

Historically, cybersecurity was a defensive game – the when, where and how was often in the hands of the attacker. But protecting customer data requires a more proactive approach. In the cashless age, the need to possess the strongest possible digital security speaks for itself.

Fraudster risks

Within Asia Pacific, Australia has one of the highest decline and fraud rates for online payments.  According to data from the Australian Payments Network, card not present fraud was up 7.8 per cent to $478 million in December 2018 and made up 85 per cent of all fraud on Australian cards in the period, compared to 82 per cent in 2017.

Our 2019research shows that 25 per cent of businesses admitted to an attempted payment fraud on their business, with a further one in five falling victim to this type of scam. But many still don’t have a system set up to deal with it. With the sophistication and scale of attacks increasing, and as Australia transitions towards even higher levels of online payments, customers and merchants need to increase security awareness.

A cyberattack affects more than your bottom line. For businesses, one of the hardest things to measure is preventive costs against an unknown gain, or in other words, you don’t know what you might lose in your business until you lose it.

Combating cybersecurity threats

We know that safety and security are top priorities for customers, cardholders, merchants and other partners. That’s why Mastercard is continually developing new and better ways to keep payments safe. As technology advances, devices change and payments methods evolve, so we continue to innovate to ensure the safety of billions of electronic payments wherever and whenever they occur.

Our research has found that only 36 per cent of Australian businesses have tightened their processes to deal with payments fraud and 57 per cent of business owners agreed that payments fraud has become a bigger issue than in previous years. Some business owners feel there is no solution to preventing payments fraud, but we do have the innovative solutions needed to fight the impact of fraudsters.

For example, tokenisation replaces the identifying card data with a randomly generated series of numbers, producing the “token”, which is then used to process the payment, while the real account data is safely protected in a token vault. It frees businesses from the liability of storing real card numbers in their system, hence reducing the burden and limiting the risk of fraud.

Fraud prevention technologies enable businesses to be nimble and reactive to emerging fraud threats, without impacting genuine customer experience.

Mastercard’s ultimate objective is for businesses and their owners to have the resources they need to ensure they do not become yet another statistic, and to strengthen and support the health of the entire ecosystem.


Richard Wormald is Division President, Australasia, at Mastercard.

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