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How payment data can prevent fraud


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Online fraud is becoming more organized and more sophisticated and merchants are looking for new ways to protect themselves. Bambora is picking up that challenge. By analyzing payment data in new ways, Bambora’s payment performance team are able to both detect and prevent fraud.

For large, international online merchants, organized payment fraud is becoming a bigger nuisance. Being targeted by organized crime, who carry out advanced and orchestrated fraud attacks, can cost millions and it often takes months before the full extent of the attack is revealed.

“Everyone wants to be as proactive as possible and the banks do send fraud reports on a daily basis. But because the card holders only report the fraud once they have actually noticed it, you don’t find out about it until after the transaction and sometimes it takes months for all the reports to come in”, says Sofia Albertsson, Payment Performance Manager at Bambora.

Sofia Albertsson uses one of Bambora’s customers as an example to illustrate what an attack might look like. Bambora noticed that the customer, a large international retailer, suddenly suffered a large drop in acceptance rates. After looking closer at the data, the payment performance team noticed that the total volume of transactions had also increased significantly. This indicated that a lot of unusual transaction were taking place and being declined.

“Most merchants don’t have the expertise to do this in-house and since these types of crimes are one the rise they really need help to try and prevent as much fraud as possible.”


As the investigation continued, Sofia Albertsson and her colleagues were able to identify a pattern among these unusual transaction. The cards all seemed to be issued in the same country and the cards were being used to attempt purchases with a very high frequency.

“There were new attempts every five seconds, too fast for it to be humans. We also saw that the amounts of the attempted purchase got smaller for every attempt. Our conclusion was that someone had bought a bunch of stolen card information and had built software that put together a shopping cart and then tried to find out how much money was on the card. If the purchase was declined they took out a few items and tried again until the transaction went through”.

According to Sofia Albertsson, finding these patterns in the organized fraud is the key to stopping it. By analyzing the method being used, Bambora can then advice the retailer on what measures to take to stop these specific transactions, while still allowing legitimate transactions. Those measures can be anything from blocking cards from a specific country to implementing velocity checks on card transactions.

In this specific case, picking up the early signs of organized fraud, and quickly finding the fraudsters tactic, meant that customer was able to stop to the wave of fraud while it was going on. Because of that, the affected retailer was able to prevent a large amount of fraud that would otherwise have been noticed only when the card holders reported it.

“Most merchants don’t have the expertise to do this in-house and since these types of crimes are one the rise they really need help to try and prevent as much fraud as possible.”