LexisNexis report says mobile fraud threats loom for retailers

Feb. 3, 2014

As retailers increasingly look to mobile as a way to generate revenue, mobile fraud threats are affecting merchants to the tune of $283 for every $100 of actual losses, according to the LexisNexis True Cost of Fraud Mobile Study released today. Conducted by LexisNexis and Javelin Strategy & Research, the study highlights key fraud issues effecting mobile retailers, while also articulating ways to combat retail fraud.

The findings in the study that show mobile penetration in the retail merchant channel is rapidly growing. Nearly one in 10 merchants accepted mobile payments in 2013 — an increase of 50 percent per year since 2011. Twenty-five percent expect to begin accepting mobile payments in 2014. The mobile browser and mobile applications represent the dominant acceptance channels with 55 percent and 38 percent of mobile merchants accepting these channels, respectively.

However, the largest growth channel is mPOS hardware. Seven percent of merchants used mPOS in 2013; no merchants reported using it in 2012. Another key segment that is growing according to the study is small merchants. Thirty-nine percent of them are attracted to the mobile channel, but their fraud levels are high because they are less aware of fraud detection schemes.

"Mobile payment options and point-of-sale hardware are providing more business opportunities for small merchants," said Dennis Becker, VP for corporate markets and identity management solutions at LexisNexis. "Despite the surge in retailers using mobile payments to conduct business, we’ve found in our study the unfortunate correlation between the size of the business and the impact of mobile fraud on their business."

Smaller mobile merchants typically rely on fewer fraud technology solutions, meaning they are often more exposed, and that fraudulent actions against the retailer can have a far greater impact on their revenue.

The study also highlighted:

  • Fraud against mobile merchants is more pervasive in credit card fraud than debit card fraud. Nearly three in five fraudulent transactions were credit card based, while only 23 percent were attributable to debit cards.
  • Although merchants view them as a higher fraud risk, mobile browsers are still the most commonly utilized method of accepting mobile payments vs. mobile apps.
  • Mobile merchants face more identity theft than all merchants. They also view identity verification as the most serious fraud-prevention issue.

The study also highlighted recommendations to help combat fraud:

  • Mobile merchants selling digital goods can limit their fraud costs by thoroughly authenticating card-not-present transactions through mobile devices.
  • Merchants should track fraudulent activities by each channel they offer. Currently, only 48 percent of mobile merchants reported that they track fraud by payment channel.
  • Retailers must maintain open communications with financial institutions and other mobile merchants to better understand the evolving nature of fraud threats and solutions. Consortia such as the Merchant Risk Council provide forums for sharing expertise and assessing concerns.

Read more about retail payments.

Topics: Mobile Payments , Payments , PCI Compliance , POS , Technology

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