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Payment card fraud falls significantly but still reaches €22 million in 2019 with over a quarter of a million fraudulent card transactions

With 90% of card fraud taking place online, via phone or mail consumers warned to be extra vigilant during pre-Christmas rush

New FraudSMART research shows younger people’s online shopping behaviour leaves them open to most risk

24th November 2020 – Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) today published the latest debit and credit card fraud losses which amounted to €22.1 million in 2019 with over a quarter of a million (260,000) fraudulent debit and credit card transactions. However, much progress is being made in the fight against card fraud, with s card fraud losses down 49% when compared to 2016. This decrease in card fraud is even more marked, when set against a 28% increase in credit and debit card usage in the same three-year period.

With the figures showing that more than 90% of card fraud took place online, via telephone or mail order, rather than in-store, consumers are being urged to be extra cautious ahead of Black Friday and the pre-Christmas rush.

Speaking about the latest fraud figures and the importance of taking extra precautions when shopping online this Christmas, Brian Hayes, Chief Executive BPFI said: “Card fraud losses have been on a downward trend over the last three years and in 2019 were at their lowest level since 2012. This comes at a time when there has been a significant increase in card usage. The fall in losses can be attributed to a combination of better detection and fraud monitoring systems which banks have put in place, but also to the fact that consumers are becoming more aware of the risks of card fraud and the ways in which they can protect themselves from falling victim.”

“That being said however, with a total of almost 260,000 fraudulent debit and credit card transactions over the course of 2019 amounting to just over €22 million, efforts on all sides are required in order to continue to drive these figures down. This is particularly pertinent in the current climate when consumers are shopping online more than ever due to Covid-19 restrictions and when our figures are showing us that over 90% of card fraud takes place online or using telephone or mail order. As Covid restrictions and the pre-Christmas rush draws thousands of shoppers online we are urging all consumers to take extra precautions when shopping online this year.”

New research shows younger people’s online shopping behaviour puts them at most risk

Six out of ten (59%) of people say they will do more of their Christmas shopping online this year, according to new research carried out by BPFI’s fraud awareness initiative, FraudSMART, which shows mixed results when it comes to consumer behaviour and shopping safely online. While many shoppers are taking the right steps to protect themselves, many more are opening themselves up to being defrauded, with younger people aged 18-24 engaging in online shopping behaviour which puts them at most risk.

BPFI research highlighted the increasingly positive steps being taken by consumers, but also behaviours that are leaving consumers more exposed as they shop online.

They include:

At risk behaviours:

  • 39% sometimes or always click on links from social media adverts rather than visiting the relevant website independently. This jumped to 59% among those aged 18-24.
  • 35% rarely or never check the security of the website they are shopping (i.e. that it has a padlock symbol or the ‘https’ in the address to indicate the site is secure)
  • 43% rarely or never read an online retailer’s terms and conditions
  • Looking across the generations, those aged 18-24 are more likely than any other age group to provide their card information by email, shop from unfamiliar sites and use public WIFI when making payments.
  • And looking at the differences between men and women, while women are more much more likely than men to click on links from social media adverts and less likely to check for the padlock symbol, men are much more likely to send their card details by email, use public WIFI when making payments and to purchase from unfamiliar websites.

Preventative measures being taken by consumers include:

  • 52% regularly check their statements and transactions for any fraud or suspicious activity
  • 75% would never send their bank card number, PIN or other card info by email
  • 78% of consumers say they rarely or never use public WIFI when making payments online

Top Tips for Shopping Safely Online

In the run up to what is traditionally the busiest shopping period of the year, FraudSMART has published its Top Tips for Shopping Safely Online which can be found on its website These tips include:

  • Use secure websites. The website address should be ‘https’ before the purchase is made, indicating a secure connection
  • Use sites where a padlock symbol is shown beside the website address
  • Do not under any circumstances use public Wi-Fi when making payments – switch to 3G/4G on your phone if necessary
  • Independently visit the website of the online sales company as opposed to clicking on social media or pop-up adverts
  • Be cautious about claiming outrageous offers – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is
  • Stick to well-known websites or websites that you are familiar with or websites associated with high street retail outlets

Consumers can a wealth of other advice on how to avoid fraud by visiting


For further information contact: Jillian Heffernan, Head of Communications, 087 9016880 or jillian.heffernan@bpfi.i

About FraudSMART: FraudSMART is a fraud awareness initiative developed by Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) in conjunction with the following member banks, Allied Irish Bank plc, Bank of Ireland, KBC Bank Ireland, PermanentTSB, Ulster Bank, An Post and Barclays. The programme aims to raise consumer and business awareness of the latest financial fraud activity and trends and provide simple and impartial advice on how best they can protect themselves and their resources.

About BPFI: Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) represents the banking, payments and fintech sector in Ireland.  Together with its affiliates, the Federation of International Banks in Ireland and the Fintech & Payments Association of Ireland, BPFI has over 100 member institutions and associates, including licensed domestic and foreign banks and institutions operating in the financial marketplace here.