Preventing payment fraud  in Europe


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The contents on this website reflect the views of the Members of the EU Fraud Prevention Expert Group and cannot be attributed to the European Commission


Fraud in non-cash means of payment

There is a growing involvement of trans-national organised crime in payment fraud, being able in most cases to circumvent countermeasures. Not only is this a threat for the European economy and the payments systems, but also for society as a whole. While statistics on total fraud are not available, estimates in relation to card fraud in the EU were between €500 and €1000 Million, and it is not necessarily decreasing. More worrying, payment fraud is increasingly taking a trans-national nature.

The adoption of sound preventive measures in relation to fraud in non-cash means of payment is of paramount importance for the creation of a EU Single Payment Area with efficient and secure payment means and systems, for maintaining the confidence of users in payment systems and for reducing the level of organised criminal activity in this field.

While non-cash means of payment also include credit transfers, traditional direct debits and cheques, the fraud prevention efforts at European level have traditionally been on card fraud, which is less national in character. However, new problems arise, in particular in relation to new technologies such as e-payments and mobile payments. The most important new challenges relate in particular to the identity theft/fraud problem and its consequences for payments, and to the use of high technology for payment fraud, such as data hacking, phishing and other scam phenomena.

Pro memoria, concerning cash fraud, the Council adopted in 2001 a regulation laying down measures necessary for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting. The European Central Bank has an important role in this regard. In addition, Member States have established National Central Offices for the protection against counterfeiting and designated bodies responsible for the technical analysis of counterfeits. They have also introduced legislation obliging credit institutions to withdraw from circulation and hand over counterfeits to competent authorities.










Fraud in non-cash means of payment

Card Fraud

Identity Theft