The rise of cashless payments has been a prominent factor in the evolution of markets across the face of the globe for the past decade at least. We look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped the international payments market and the fraud risk with it.
According to the World Payments Report 2020 from Capgemini – global leaders in in consulting, digital transformation, technology, and engineering services – cashless transactions around the world recorded their highest rate of growth for a decade in the 12 months between 2018/19. In this period, they surged by 14% to hit a total of 708.5 billion transactions.
Traditional market leaders like the US and Europe were outstripped in 2019 by the Asia-Pacific region, which recorded 243.6 billion transactions.
This growth was fuelled in large part by the China, India, and other SE Asian markets, and driven by trends such as the adoption of digital wallets and innovations in mobile and QR-code forms of payment.
At the same time, digital payments in Europe grew 9.9% year on year and are widely tipped to hit the $1trn mark by 2023.
As stated, the growth in all parts of the world had been apparent for some time before 2019. In 2017, for example, non-cash payments grew by 34.6% in China, 38.5% in Russia, and 38.5% in India.
In each of these markets the prime drivers of growth were different. In Russia, the growth was driven by the introduction, in 2015, of a National Payment Card, which saw cashless transactions boosted by a massive 36.5%.
In China the continued dominance of AliPay and WeChat saw mobile payments rise from $2 trillion in 2015 to $15.4 trillion in 2017 ( a figure which is greater than the number of global transactions processed by Visa and Mastercard), while Indian growth was prompted by a combination of greater smartphone penetration and a more favourable regulatory regime.
The Impact of the Pandemic
The footnote to this sustained period of growth in cashless payments is the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw cashless payments become a matter of public health rather than consumer choice, is likely to have entrenched the shift away from cash. The number of consumers making between 51% and 100% of their monthly purchases via e-commerce has doubled during the course of the pandemic thus far, and the range of methods consumers were using to make those purchases became wider than ever.
While 62.4% opted for credit cards and 52.7% for debit cards, other methods proved to be increasingly popular:
- Internet banking…48.9%
- Mobile payments via digital wallet or QR code…46.1%
- Buy now pay later…30.1%
- Retailer wallet…29.6%
What all of this represents for any merchant wishing to stake a claim for their part of what is now a genuine global marketplace, is both a huge opportunity and a massive challenge.
The opportunity almost speaks for itself – the chance to sell items not just to the people who can travel to your premises or even to the population of a single city, country or continent, but instead to have a potential market amounting to billions of people.
Digital technology has made reaching this market – via laptops, tablets and smartphones etc. – easier than ever, but with each new market comes the complexity of a new set of payment methods and regimes.
Here at NOIRE we make it our business to know exactly what is demanded of merchants in each market in which they wish to operate, including the emerging markets in which regulations and compliance are still in the process of becoming fully formed and entrenched.
We’ve written before about the challenge of knowing which bodies are in charge of regulating payments in countries like Brazil, Australia and China, and also about the huge range of payment options which consumers prefer in different market places.
The Risk of Fraud
What doesn’t change from market to market is the potential for fraud. To put it simply, if a payment method exists, fraudsters will be hard at work trying to come up with ways to make it pay for them rather than for the merchants or customers using it.
According to Merchant Savvy, global losses from payment fraud tripled in the years between 2011 and 2020, from $9.84 billion to $32.39 billion, and that figure is predicted to carry on rising to $40.62 billion by the year 2027. This figure includes fraud perpetrated against every type of payment system.
The European Central Bank, for example, found that fraud using cards amounted to €1.80 billion in 2018 and that 79% of this was the result of card-not-present payments, of the type which ecommerce merchants have traditionally depended upon.
Vital Risk Management
Utilising effective fraud risk management techniques when dealing with international payments is vital for a-number-of reasons, the most obvious being a desire to stop you and your customers being swindled out of money.
In addition, anti-fraud measures form a central plank of compliance in the vast majority of markets, and that falling victim to fraud won’t simply cost money in the short run, it will cause massive reputational damage in the longer term.
The multiplicity of payment methods now on offer around the world, and the many different ways in which fraudsters might seek to take advantage of any weaknesses in the security surrounding those measures, makes maintaining a genuinely secure payment system incredibly complex.
This is why so many merchants around the world opt to let NOIRE handle fraud risk management for them.
Protection Offered by NOIRE
The fraud risk management provided by NOIRE is multi-layered and designed to spot attempted fraudulent activity in real time, utilising detection and alerts to prevent transactions which would result in chargebacks taking place.
Accounts which have been compromised will be flagged up and attempts to apply for credit screened to filter out fraudulent applications.
The size of our network and the depth of our analysis enable us to build patterns of activity which flag up accounts which have been hacked before any fraudulent activity takes place.
At the same time, online transactions are checked in real time to prevent fraudulent payments being processed, thus avoiding the necessity of chargebacks at a later date.
Our commitment to fraud management across our platforms and processes never comes at the cost of the end user experience. We’ve got enough experience to know that the modern consumer expects a seamless experience when using digital payment methods, and that delays and friction could be enough to persuade them to shop elsewhere.
It’s a delicate balance, and NOIRE have perfected the art of pulling it off. Our two-factor authentication, for example, performs real time checks on accounts and users on log in without the need for customers to use another device or jump through a hoop such as one-time SMS verification.
At all times, our systems will work to meet the multiple compliance requirements of the different markets in which a merchant operates, whilst maintaining friction-free commerce and protecting the brand of that particular merchant.
When you’re dealing with many millions of potential customers in multiple marketplaces it’s difficult to know who to trust. Our clients will tell you that you can trust NOIRE, because our fraud risk management solutions will keep you and your customers safe.
Please get in touch with us today – we would be very happy to help you.