The ECB card fraud report reveals record low levels of card fraud. The report is based on information provided by 20 card payment scheme operators. Card fraud in 2021 continued its downward trend, falling to its lowest level since data collection began. It constituted 0.028% of the total value of card payments made using cards issued in the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). This amounts to €1.53bn from a total value of €5.40trn. By comparison, card fraud in 2019 amounted to €1.87bn from a total value of €5.16trn. The highest share of card fraud observed to date was 0.048% in 2008.

The report focuses on the two distinct types of card fraud. Firstly, card-not-present fraud, in other words, fraud conducted remotely in online and telephone payments. This uses card details obtained by scams such as phishing. The second type, card-present fraud, typically occurs at retail outlets and ATMs and involves the use of counterfeit cards.

Card-not-present fraud -12%, card present fraud -6% in 2021

Card-not-present fraud accounted for approximately 84% of the total value of card fraud in 2021. It declined by 12% from 2020 following the market-wide implementation of strong customer authentication under the revised EU Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

Card-present fraud fell by 6% in 2021 from its 2020 level. This followed the continued global roll-out of industry standards. These have been effective in reducing opportunities to commit magnetic stripe counterfeit fraud.

As in previous reports, most of the card fraud in both 2020 and 2021 involved cross-border transactions. Although cross-border transactions only accounted for 11% of the total value of card payment transactions, they accounted for 63% of the total value of card fraud in 2021.

The Eurosystem monitors trends in card fraud as overseer of card payment schemes operating in the euro area. The latest ECB report on card fraud focuses on data for both 2020 and 2021. The ECB says it provides a more differentiated overview of the impact on card fraud of both the recent regulatory measures and the coronavirus pandemic. The ECB is currently collecting fraud data for 2022.

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