High-tech answer to credit card fraud

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

When shopping around for a credit card, we tend to compare annual fees, the number of days before interest charges kick in, and other extras like loyalty programmes. How good the credit card provider's fraud detection system isn't that obvious.

Unfortunately, the Internet has made it extremely easy for anyone who knows the details on a credit card to charge things to the account. Although we are not supposed to let our credit cards out of our site, cards invariably get carried off by a stranger at a restaurant every time we go out for a meal.

Standard Bank impressed me twice recently when its card fraud detection unit phoned to alert me of fraudulent Internet transactions being done with my card number.

Whenever I've found strange transactions on my statement and disputed them, the credit card provider has reversed them no problem. But it was nice to have the bank point them out to me first.

Standard Bank card division director Doug Walker said that his bank has deployed "neural network" technology to detect questionable transactions based on variations to a customer' conventional spending profile.

"Let's assume that a cardholder generally transacts at a department store in Sandton on a weekly basis. This behaviour is recorded by neural technology. Let's further assume that the customer never travels abroad. In the event that a transaction originates in China at a jewellery outlet which is not part of the customer's conventional spending profile, an alert will prompt a fraud analyst to validate the authenticity of the sale." Walker explained.

"This proactive intervention has enabled Standard Bank not only to counteract fraud but also consider each customer as unique in their spending habits and profiles," he added.