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1. Review and prepare systems

Deploy automated risk strategies, as this can help reduce manual review rates and lower call center operational expenses, reducing demand on internal resources. Also, utilize early warning indicators – access to early warning indicators, such as acquirer reported fraud, will help merchants to reduce exposure and mitigate losses as quickly as possible if under attack.

2. Identify weak points

Understand pitfalls from previous peak trading days and tailor strategies to ensure history does not repeat. For example, if delivery fraud was previously a problem, identify the postcodes which need higher review rates and re-focus reviews and resources from those areas which pose less risk. Also consider anything that’s changed since the last peak trading period. What changes have been made to product lines, sales channels, available payment methods and delivery options? Are these new initiatives protected with specific and tailored fraud rules and strategies?

3. Consider the customer experience and reduce friction for genuine customers

Customers shop across a variety of channels and touch points, so it is important to recognise and enable loyal customers, regardless of the device or sales channel they are using. Use customer profiling and time on file techniques to maintain the customer experience for valued customers and ensure good transactions are still accepted, while still being vigilant against popular methods of attack such at account takeover.

4. Understand trends and learn from manual reviews

Analyze and monitor fraudulent hot spots and trends. Understand which cards, IP and email addresses pose the biggest threat, and ensure they are factored them into rules and alert triggers. Good security requires that people, technology and processes work together in applying security, as fraudsters will exploit any weakness.

We recommend that merchants retain one individual to look holistically at data and trends including decisions, individual performances, rules, volumes and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Manual (authentication and verification of cardholders) reviews are still important and every review adds to the wealth of fraud intelligence that can be used to inform decision-making. It is also important to be aware of other parts of the payment process that can trigger declines – 3D Secure, AVS/CV2 responses and bank declines, which can trigger multiple attempts from customers.

5. Cross-functional communication business

Working closely with IT, finance, customer services and marketing can help build a picture of what happened previously, and inform decisions going forward. In particular, understand key campaigns and promotions. Is the marketing team planning anything that could inadvertently provide opportunities for fraudsters? Gather information and raise concerns and potential problems. Offer solutions informed by fraud monitoring processes, analytics and reporting.

6. Continue to monitor and update

Use business intelligence tools and real-time monitoring to help make up-to-the-minute decisions and provide faster responses. Use rapid access to fraud intelligence to inform rules changes in real-time.


By working with experienced risk analysts to review and refine fraud strategy, and discuss fraud rulesets, merchants will be in the best possible position to deliver a seamless, secure and satisfying shopping experience to customers during peak trading, with minimal business interruption.

Head of Merchant Payments Analytics & Optimization

A certified fraud and analytics professional with over 20 years of experience in payment acceptance optimization, global fraud prevention, digital identity verification and authentication, statistical data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence enterprise real-time financial decision technology solutions. Erika leads a global team of fraud professionals across six different countries overseeing customer analysis and implementing state-of-the-art intelligent solutions to reduce operational costs and generate incremental revenue. Leveraging incremental learning, pattern detection and data mining techniques, Erika’s efforts have delivered best-in-class performance for leading merchants across the globe. Erika’s contributions have been recognized with the ‘Forty under 40’ and Women in Payments Educator in 2019. Her passion for her work drives her pursuit of excellence in the industry.