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Payment Card Fraud Falls To Historic Lows

Media Release from Visa International

Payment Card Fraud Falls To Historic Lows

Fraud falls the lowest level in five years

Auckland, 19 August 2005 - Payment card fraud in Asia Pacific has been managed down to a five-year low.

Card fraud has dropped to three cents for every $100 spent in the region or 0.03 as a percentage of sales volume in the first quarter of 2005. This is less than half what it was in the same period in 2000 and less than half of the current global rate. During this time, transactions on Visa have nearly doubled.

Visa's General Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Mr. Bruce Mansfield, said the fall is due to coordination amongst financial organizations, governments and law enforcement agencies as well as extra vigilance by cardholders and merchants.

"The results clearly show that our concerted efforts are working. Visa and financial institutions have 24/7 surveillance on card accounts and swift action is taken at the slightest hint of fraud," Mr. Mansfield said.

"We continue to work with our bank members, other payment card companies, governments and law enforcement professionals on a number of initiatives to strengthen further the security of our payments system for the years ahead.

"Criminals increasingly focus their efforts on markets with less established risk management practices and systems. Our job is to keep a step ahead and the data suggests were doing this.

"One of the keys to fighting fraud is the introduction of chip cards and we expect to see this accelerate in the next few years. Chip cards are the best long-term defense against counterfeit fraud. Visa and its members have had considerable success in overseas markets with chip cards and by the end of this decade they will be commonplace in New Zealand .

"Chip card migration programs are being run at the national level in four markets in the region: Malaysia, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. In Malaysia, the chip payment infrastructure is now in place and has delivered a dramatic fall in counterfeit fraud since the start of the year. Counterfeit fraud on Malaysian cards has virtually disappeared.

"More than 32 million Visa chip cards are in circulation in Asia Pacific and approximately 750,000 chip terminals have been deployed.

"With around ten percent of payment card transactions now online, we are alert to new threats and technologies.

"Visa, the banks and other financial institutions stringently enforcement compliance with Visa's Account Information Security (AIS) program. All entities that process, store or transmit Visa cardholder account or transaction information must meet the highest levels of data security standards.

"Everyone has a role to play in fighting fraud. There is plenty of evidence to show that the war can be fought successfully. The simple starting point for fraud prevention is for people to treat their card and information as if it were cash," Mr. Mansfield said.


Card security tips

Informed and alert consumers are the frontline of defense against card fraud. Visa provides the following advice on protecting against fraud in both the physical and virtual worlds.

* Never write down your Personal Identification Number (PIN)-memorize it!

* Never disclose PIN numbers to anyone.

* When selecting a PIN, do not choose numbers and letters that can be easily identified. Avoid using initials, phone numbers, or birth dates.

* Ensure that you sign your card in blue or black pen on the signature panel as soon you receive it.

* Make a record of card account numbers and telephone numbers for reporting lost or stolen cards. Keep this list in a safe place.

* Don't let your card out of your sight and ensure that it is returned after every purchase.

* Never give card numbers over the phone, unless you have initiated the call .

* Always verify the transaction amount before signing the sales receipt.

* Always check sales vouchers to verify that the amount on the customer copy of the receipt matches the amount recorded on the merchant copy.

* Know who has access to your cards. If a family member borrows a credit card without the your knowledge, you may be responsible for those purchases or cash withdrawals.

* Do not leave cards in the glove compartment of your car.

* Report lost or stolen cards to your issuing bank immediately.

* Report suspicious activities to your issuing bank.

* Make sure your issuing bank has your up to date telephone and mobile numbers.

* Never respond to an e-mail request for personal or account information, even if it appears to be from a trusted source.

* Visa will never initiate contact with cardholders by email or phone to seek personal or confidential information.

Further information

About Visa International: Visa is the world's leading payment brand generating more than US$3 trillion in annual card sales volume. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance in more than 150 countries. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce-the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way. For more information, visit

About Visa Asia Pacific: Visa has a greater market share than all other payment card brands combined with 62 percent of all card purchases at the point of sale being made using Visa cards. There are currently 229 million Visa-branded cards in the region. During the 12 months ended 30 September 2004, US$455 billion was spent at point of sale or withdrawn from ATMs in Asia Pacific using Visa cards. Visa Asia Pacific's Internet address is


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