Better technology driving credit card fraud down: ECB

Improved technology has driven down credit card fraud in Europe dramatically, the European Central Bank said Wednesday in its first-ever report on the issue.

"Card fraud has been on a declining trend since 2007 ... technological advances have been key to increasing the security of transactions," the central bank said.

The ECB analysed fraud in card payments in 32 European countries and calculated that it dropped to 1.26 billion euros ($1.53 billion) in 2010, a 12.1-percent dip from the previous year.

Fraud took place in 0.040 percent of all credit card transactions in 2010, down from 0.045 percent in 2007, the central bank added.

The total amount of fraud increased by 0.7 percent between 2007 and 2010 but the value of transactions vastly outstripped this over the same period, rising by 5.1 percent to around three trillion euros per year.

The most important improvement to credit card technology identified by the ECB was the introduction of a chip-based standard called EMV.

"This offers stronger security features than conventional magnetic strips both for the physical card ... and for the technological infrastructure behind the transaction," said the ECB.

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