History tells us the “liability deadline” for EMV rollout in the United States will see a surge of fraud online.
Don Bush, VP of Marketing at fraud and risk management company, Kount, explains how the acquirer level of the payments chain can help small, medium and large merchants handle the rising threat of online fraud.
Learning from others misfortune.
The rollout of EMV cards in the United States has a deadline of October 2015. This has logistical issues but perhaps more importantly it is likely to prompt a major shift in credit card fraud to card-not-present transactions. As the second largest market for online revenues when the US moves to EMV technology at ‘brick and mortar’ POS, we can expect a transition from offline fraud to online channels such as the desktop and mobile, as fraudsters increase their fraudulent activities.
Figures from the UK Card Association show how this occurred in the UK after it adopted EMV technology – a trend that played out in other countries across the world. The difference between then and now though is that ecommerce is now a retail phenomenon. According to eMarketer, over $200 billion of additional spending could flow through CNP transactions globally by 2017, presenting a vast world of opportunity to online fraudsters looking for a piece of the pie.
Responsibility moving up the food chain
The burden of liability no longer rests solely with merchants. For years, they have been responsible for ensuring their customers’ transactions are secure. Typically this involves aligning with either a trusted payment service provider (PSP), payment gateway, or hosted pay page (HPP) that works with a fraud prevention leader. The goal is to ensure transactions are secure as well as able to provide crucial information of fraudulent behaviour the retailer is experiencing.
However, financial regulators are increasingly linking fraud mitigation and compliance with regulations, which pushes the liability moving up the food chain, extending from merchants to payment choke points.
As well as needing to offer an integrated fraud solution to their customers, online payment processors need greater access to sophisticated fraud tools to protect themselves from regulatory action that could destroy their reputation.
Payment processors are constantly looking for new ways to differentiate from their competitors. Adding services such as fraud mitigation allows them to offer value-added services to their online merchant base, add revenue, and increase customer retention.
Value-adding above commoditization
Payment processing fees are becoming commoditized and a “race to the bottom” on pricing is now the norm. Additional services like fraud can help offset the revenue lost in interchange fees.
As technology becomes more pervasive, accessible and affordable, more ‘brick and mortar’ businesses are using the internet as an additional sales channel to increase revenue and customer satisfaction. This includes ambitious SMEs who want to be able to grow their businesses and compete in an increasingly crowded space by offering great products at great prices, while providing a great overall customer experience. Efficient fraud prevention options that suit the business are vital technological tools that can have a drastic effect on business success. The business impact of fraud prevention is often underestimated, but setting rules and thresholds that turn away the fraudsters while allowing legitimate transactions through makes a huge difference to any retailers’ bottom line.
Providing fraud mitigation services at the payment processor level can give the end customer a friction-free buying experience.
The problem for merchants is that sophisticated fraud solutions are often expensive, complex and difficult to manage. This presents an opportunity for online payment processors to provide a trusted fraud solution to merchants that reduces fraudulent transactions – mitigating fines or penalties from regulators – while allowing and promoting business. Integrating this into the payment processing system will help make the process simpler for merchants to configure in a way that suits their business and reduces exposure to payment fraud.
One problem often cited by both large and small online merchants is the IT constraints they face. Smaller merchants do not have access to IT resources and larger merchants fight for resources with other departments within the business. Integrating a fraud mitigation platform at the payment processor level reduces or eliminates the need for additional IT resources making fraud prevention available and attainable by all merchants.
Pure-play merchants may be the least prepared.
Many “pure-play” ecommerce merchants that do not have an offline presence are unaware of the incoming tide of new fraud when EMV is implemented in the US. This new surge in fraud could catch them by surprise and cause havoc.
Forrester expects online retail sales in the US to reach $294 billion by the end of 2014, or approximately 9% of all sales in the US, while forecasting a yield of approximately $414 billion in online sales (11%) by 2018. Fraud always follows opportunity and with EMV providing an extra layer of security to card-present payments, fraudsters will go after whatever they perceive to be the easiest target. Unfortunately this often means smaller online retailers who traditionally struggle to provide high-level fraud prevention. Payments providers that take on the responsibility and liability of secure transactions will benefit from adding value to their offering and increasing their bottom line, ensuring that the EMV opportunists have nowhere left to turn.
Fraud is migrating now. As an industry we must respond.
As evidenced by the rash of recent, large-scale data breaches, fraudsters are faster, more sophisticated and better networked than ever before. Detailed data on financial credentials and personal identities is hitting the market making fraud reduction more and more difficult. Asking online merchants alone to fight this battle is a weak strategy. Partnering with payment processors and card schemes gives merchants a better chance of mitigating their fraud risk.
At Kount we have seen a rise in online At Kount we watch fraud increase every year.. The solution is not to tackle fraud in a draconian way – this will ultimately turn away legitimate customers. The key is to get the balance right. Online commerce is massive for our industry and for the global economy it is imperative that we allow all legitimate trading to happen and stop fraud at the same time. This needs to be a collaborative effort from all parts of the payment chain and tackling fraud at the top of the chain (PSP’s, banks and acquirers) will make the most difference.
Teed off: As COVID fuels S. Africa’s housing crisis, golf courses feel the heat
By Kim Harrisberg
JOHANNESBURG (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It sounds like a developer’s dream: A greenfield site in the heart of Cape Town, close to the best schools, hospitals and transport links and big enough to build more than 1,400 affordable new homes. The only hitch – it’s a golf course.
The 46-hectare (114-acre) Rondebosch Golf Club is one of hundreds of golf courses in South Africa facing scrutiny by land rights campaigners as a surge in evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic exposes an acute shortage of low-cost housing.
Rondebosch had its lease renewed by the city government late last year despite the presentation of some 1,830 objections by local housing rights group Ndifuna Ukwazi, which says turning golf courses over for homes is a way to tackle deep inequality.
“Using this land for the benefit of a few wealthy individuals at the expense of those in dire need of affordable housing is inefficient, unequal and unjust,” said Michael Clark, head of research and advocacy at Ndifuna Ukwazi.
Warnings by city officials that eviction is on the cards for occupiers of abandoned buildings, just months after Rondebosch’s lease was extended, have roused activists and sparked calls for cities to prioritise land use according to need.
“Golf courses occupy expansive tracts of land in well-located areas across cities,” said Edward Molopi, a researcher with the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), which uses litigation and advocacy to support human rights.
“South African cities face an acute need for affordable housing and this land can be used to address the problem,” Molopi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that he knows of hundreds of housing evictions since lockdown began.
Nearly three decades after the end of white minority rule, South Africa remains one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Bank, with urban areas still starkly divided along racial and class lines.
In other countries too, from South Korea to the United States, the swathes of green space needed for a round of golf have stirred debate around alternative uses for the land, whether apartment blocks, public parks or even vineyards.
‘NOT THE ONLY LAND’
But in South Africa, where tracts of land, including golf courses, were used as physical barriers to separate different racial groups during the apartheid regime, campaigners say repurposing such areas is key to achieving a fairer society.
Golf lovers have a choice of about 450 courses in South Africa, according to independent golf course ranking platform Top 100 Golf Courses.
They are easy to spot on a Google Maps view of the nation’s cities, many in close proximity to other golf courses, and also poorer neighbourhoods or townships.
But officials say finding space for affordable homes is more complex than repurposing golf courses.
Not all of the courses are publicly owned or suitable for residential use, said officials from the cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. The sport also draws tourists and creates jobs, they added.
“Densification, diversification and inclusionary housing requirements in well-located parts of our cities is a more realistic approach,” said Nthatisi Modingoane, a spokesman for the city of Johannesburg.
Johannesburg’s Observatory golf course lies less than five kilometres (three miles) from Hillbrow, an inner-city suburb notorious for derelict, overcrowded buildings and crime.
People unable to afford rent end up there in “dark buildings” – properties seized by rogue landlords that offer crowded but cheap rooms, often without electricity.
“Since COVID, people need cheap rent, but if you don’t pay the landlords you get kicked out or … they kill you,” said Ethel Musonza, a housing activist who used to live in a dark building.
“There is a big need for people to be resettled in a safe place they can afford,” she added.
But the Observatory course sits on the site of an old ash dump, making it a poor site for residential construction, said club captain Simon Leventhorp.
“There is need for affordable houses but golf courses aren’t the only land available,” he said, adding that the club had a lower membership fee that other courses, making it a more inclusive space.
Some courses – like Rondebosch in Cape Town – do fit the bill for affordable housing, said Clark.
Golfers at the course can still enjoy views of the city’s famous Table Mountain from the greens, but authorities did add a two-year cancellation clause to the club’s lease if an alternative use of the land is identified.
Land used for community and recreational use, including golf courses, is currently being reviewed for possible residential sites, the city added.
In the meantime, land campaigners will continue to put pressure on state and city governments to “proactively intervene in housing markets”, said Molopi from SERI.
“This will be central to dismantling the ‘apartheid city’ and moving towards urban spatial justice,” Molopi said.
(Reporting by Kim Harrisberg @KimHarrisberg; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints – BoE’s Vlieghe
By David Milliken and William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England might need to cut interest rates below zero later this year or in 2022 if a recovery in the economy disappoints, especially if there is persistent unemployment, policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said on Friday.
Vlieghe said he thought the likeliest scenario was that the economy would recover strongly as forecast by the central bank earlier this month, meaning a further loosening of monetary policy would not be needed.
Data published on Friday suggested the economy had stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown hit retailers last month, while businesses and consumers are hopeful a fast vaccination campaign will spur a recovery.
Vlieghe said in a speech published by the BoE that there was a risk of lasting job market weakness hurting wages and prices.
“In such a scenario, I judge more monetary stimulus would be appropriate, and I would favour a negative Bank Rate as the tool to implement the stimulus,” he said.
“The time to implement it would be whenever the data, or the balance of risks around it, suggest that the recovery is falling short of fully eliminating economic slack, which might be later this year or into next year,” he added.
Vlieghe’s comments are similar to those of fellow policymaker Michael Saunders, who said on Thursday negative rates could be the BoE’s best tool in future.
Earlier this month the BoE gave British financial institutions six months to get ready for the possible introduction of negative interest rates, though it stressed that no decision had been taken on whether to implement them.
Investors saw the move as reducing the likelihood of the BoE following other central banks and adopting negative rates.
Some senior BoE policymakers, such as Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden, believe that adding to the central bank’s 875 billion pounds ($1.22 trillion) of government bond purchases remains the best way of boosting the economy if needed.
Vlieghe underscored the scale of the hit to Britain’s economy and said it was clear the country was not experiencing a V-shaped recovery, adding it was more like “something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery.”
“I want to emphasise how far we still have to travel in this recovery,” he said, adding that it was “highly uncertain” how much of the pent-up savings amassed by households during the lockdowns would be spent.
By contrast, last week the BoE’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, likened the economy to a “coiled spring.”
Vlieghe also warned against raising interest rates if the economy appeared to be outperforming expectations.
“It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.
Higher interest rates were unlikely to be appropriate until 2023 or 2024, he said.
($1 = 0.7146 pounds)
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)
UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit
By William Schomberg and David Milliken
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy has stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown last month hit retailers, and business and consumers are hopeful the vaccination campaign will spur a recovery, data showed on Friday.
The IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a survey of businesses, suggested the economy was barely shrinking in the first half of February as companies adjusted to the latest restrictions.
A separate survey of households showed consumers at their most confident since the pandemic began.
Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.
The central bank expects a strong subsequent recovery because of the COVID-19 vaccination programme – though policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said in a speech on Friday that the BoE could need to cut interest rates below zero later this year if unemployment stayed high.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due on Monday to announce the next steps in England’s lockdown but has said any easing of restrictions will be gradual.
Official data for January underscored the impact of the latest lockdown on retailers.
Retail sales volumes slumped by 8.2% from December, a much bigger fall than the 2.5% decrease forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, and the second largest on record.
“The only good thing about the current lockdown is that it’s no way near as bad for the economy as the first one,” Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
The smaller fall in retail sales than last April’s 18% plunge reflected growth in online shopping.
BORROWING SURGE SLOWED IN JANUARY
There was some better news for finance minister Rishi Sunak as he prepares to announce Britain’s next annual budget on March 3.
Though public sector borrowing of 8.8 billion pounds ($12.3 billion) was the first January deficit in a decade, it was much less than the 24.5 billion pounds forecast in a Reuters poll.
That took borrowing since the start of the financial year in April to 270.6 billion pounds, reflecting a surge in spending and tax cuts ordered by Sunak.
The figure does not count losses on government-backed loans which could add 30 billion pounds to the shortfall this year, but the deficit is likely to be smaller than official forecasts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank said.
Sunak is expected to extend a costly wage subsidy programme, at least for the hardest-hit sectors, but he said the time for a reckoning would come.
“It’s right that once our economy begins to recover, we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing and I’ll always be honest with the British people about how we will do this,” he said.
Some economists expect higher taxes sooner rather than later.
“Big tax rises eventually will have to be announced, with 2022 likely to be the worst year, so that they will be far from voters’ minds by the time of the next general election in May 2024,” Samuel Tombs, at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.
Public debt rose to 2.115 trillion pounds, or 97.9% of gross domestic product – a percentage not seen since the early 1960s.
The PMI survey and a separate measure of manufacturing from the Confederation of British Industry, showing factory orders suffering the smallest hit in a year, gave Sunak some cause for optimism.
IHS Markit’s chief business economist, Chris Williamson, said the improvement in business expectations suggested the economy was “poised for recovery.”
However the PMI survey showed factory output in February grew at its slowest rate in nine months. Many firms reported extra costs and disruption to supply chains from new post-Brexit barriers to trade with the European Union since Jan. 1.
Vlieghe warned against over-interpreting any early signs of growth. “It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.
“We are experiencing something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery. We are clearly not experiencing a V-shaped recovery.”
($1 = 0.7160 pounds)
(Editing by Angus MacSwan and Timothy Heritage)
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