Tech Tackles Fraud at the Pump Visa Software Combats Use of Stolen Credit Cards

By Sabatini, Patricia | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), September 12, 2014 | Go to article overview

Tech Tackles Fraud at the Pump Visa Software Combats Use of Stolen Credit Cards


Sabatini, Patricia, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


Unattended gasoline pumps are a favorite place for crooks to test stolen or counterfeit credit cards before going on a shopping spree.

Now Visa is trying to cut off the fuel supply.

The payment card giant is rolling out new software aimed at predicting whether it's you or a thief trying to fill up at the pump.

The program uses some 500 pieces of data - including a cardholder's transaction history and real-time reports on hot spots for fraud - to instantly flag high-risk transactions after customers swipe their cards.

Called Visa Transaction Advisor, the software produces a risk score ranging from zero to 99. The higher the score, the greater the risk of fraud.

If a threshold set by the gas station operator is exceeded - say, getting a score higher than 60 - customers get a message at the pump asking them to complete the sale inside, where a clerk can ask for additional verification.

An analysis of the 6-month-old service showed that fraudsters drove away after seeing the message, while legitimate customers went inside to pay, said Mark Nelsen, Visa's vice president of risk products and business intelligence.

"We could see when the card was rejected, and a subsequent transaction did not occur, that we could identify those that had fraud committed later on," he said.

Most customers won't notice the system because only a very small percentage of transactions - about 1 in 1,000 - should get flagged, he said.

So far, roughly 25,000 gas stations are using the technology, including Chevron and Shell, Mr. Nelsen said. Chevron experienced a 23 percent drop in card fraud at the pump during a two-month pilot test launched in late January, he said. …

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