Handelsbanken puts locks on cards

Handelsbanken puts locks on cards

Sweden's Handelsbanken is tackling the growth in fraud committed on cards abroad by putting locks on them which customers can disable with a click of a mouse when they leave the country.

Handelsbanken says that since introducing Chip and PIN, card fraud has almost been eliminated in Sweden. However, criminals are now using stolen cards in countries that have yet to implement the system.

"Over 95 percent of the crimes that affect our card customers are committed outside Sweden or online," says Carl Renström, head of card services, Handelsbanken.

The bank already allows customers to lock and unlock their cards for Internet purchases and is now extending the option to overseas transactions.

Rising fraud committed abroad has also hit UK cardholders since the introduction of Chip and PIN. According to payments association Apacs, losses from fraud committed overseas by criminals using stolen UK card details was up 77% - or £90.5 million - to £207.6 million in 2007. Apacs says fraud abroad now accounts for over one third - 39% - of total losses.

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