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How Fraudulent Are Singapore-issued Cards?

Singapore credit card fraud

While eCommerce continues to bloom globally, it is still outpaced by growth in total fraud losses. In 2015, total losses from card fraud increased by 19 percent over the previous year, while the overall card transaction volume grew by only 15 percent. But what’s the picture at the local level? Specifically, are Singapore-issued credit cards–in a domestic market that has strict laws and financial regulation–spared from this exposure and risk?

Broadly speaking, the answer is yes, or at least they are spared some of the risk. Between November 2015 and October 2016, ACI Worldwide risk analysts saw 0.31 percent attempted fraud rate–across all sectors–on Singapore-issued cards, 63 percent lower when compared to all cards (0.84 percent). However, despite the low fraud ratio, attempted fraud on Singapore-issued cards was still valued at millions of dollars.

It was also interesting to note that 62 percent of attempted fraud on Singapore-issued cards was related to USD purchases. USD transactions, however, only account for 7.6 percent of total Singapore card transaction volume, which indicates that transactions paid in USD are subjected to substantially higher fraud risk.

Attempted fraud in Singapore by currency

*Period from Nov 2015 to Oct 2016

The below graph shows the top three currencies for attempted fraud using Singaporean cards. Based on the fraud ratio, transactions made in USD are close to three times more likely to be fraudulent than any other currency. EUR is the next highest with a 1.4 percent attempted fraud rate. Transactions made in Singaporean Dollars (SGD) have a low fraud ratio at 0.1 percent (eight times lower than the overall attempted card fraud rate).

Singapore card transactions vs fraud attempts

*Period from Nov 2015 to Oct 2016


Are fraudsters targeting high value goods?

On the contrary, 80 percent of attempted fraudulent transactions in USD were less than USD 500, while only about 8.5 percent of fraudulent transactions were more than USD 1,000. But irrespective of the value of an item, merchants are subjected to fees and lost sales when chargebacks are filed, requiring them to take necessary steps to reduce the occurrence of chargebacks.

The majority of fraud attempts linked to Singapore-issued cards is seen on IP addresses coming from Singapore (37 percent) and the U.S. (30 percent). Meanwhile, U.S.-based IP addresses only account for 2 percent of total transactions. Based on these findings, ACI Worldwide recommends that merchants–when it comes to Singaporean cards–should employ greater vigilance when reviewing transactions made with USD and a U.S. IP address.

Singapore card fraud by IP geolocation

*Period from Nov 2015 to Oct 2016

By global standards, Singapore is still a low-risk market for credit cards, but as the number of eCommerce merchants continues to grow, vigilance is required. It’s worth reiterating the need to identify and minimize fraud attacks through optimized fraud rules that are responsive to rapidly-advancing technology and evolving fraud trends.