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Visa UK introduces new measures to protect SMEs from 'friendly fraud'

Visa UK introduces new measures to protect SMEs from 'friendly fraud'

Visa UK has introduced a raft of new measures to protect small businesses from soaring rates of 'friendly fraud', in which cardholders dispute a legitimate purchase with their card issuer.

Visa research reveals that nine out of 10 small businesses have reported an increase in this type of fraud over the last 12 months, with up to 20% of sales disputed.

The spike in friendly fraud impacts both merchants and card issuers. Nationwide Building Society, for instance, was forced to streamline its card dispute process following an unprecedented 251% surge in challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Examples cited by Visa include a gym-goer who forgets to cancel a membership, a child making a purchase on their parent’s device, a billing description that looks unfamiliar, and customers claiming they have not received their orders, or it has arrived damaged.

The new framework introduced, Visa Compelling Evidence 3.0 (CE3.0), gives businesses more ways to show a disputed charge is valid and authorized by the cardholder, providing merchants with an additional level of protection while not impacting the consumers that are making genuine claims.

CE3.0 now allows businesses to provide records of two previous undisputed transactions using the same payment method. These transactions must be between 120 days and 365 days old as of the dispute date and either the IP address or the device ID/fingerprint must match across all three transactions, along with one additional element of IP address, device ID/fingerprint, shipping address or account log in ID. With this additional evidence that demonstrates the validity of the disputed charge, businesses may then be able to keep the money received from the original transaction.

Visa reckons the measures could save UK retailers an estimated £31 million per year in fraudulent claims.

Mandy Lamb, managing director of Visa UK and Ireland comments: “Small businesses are the beating heart of both the UK economy and our local communities. We recognise their vital importance and that’s why we are constantly evolving our protective solutions. These new measures will help to ensure small businesses can conduct business safely and securely whilst maintaining the high level of customer protection through Visa’s Zero Liability Policy."

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