The UK has the highest bank card fraud rate in Europe, with over 80% committed by fraudsters using stolen card details.
There were 134 card frauds per 1,000 people in the UK in 2019, according to analysis of European Central Bank data figures carried out by the Social Market Foundation (SMF). The cost of card fraud per 1,000 people in the UK was over £8,800.
Card-not-present fraud, where a criminal uses card details without the physical card, was the cause of 84% of all UK card fraud. Criminals are using sophisticated methods to glean payment card details, including malware and phishing scams.
In comparison, Germany only experienced 15 card frauds per 1,000 people, France had 115, Spain 37 and Italy 19. The cost of card fraud per 1,000 people in Germany was just under £2,000, in France it was about £6,000, while Spain and Italy saw card frauds worth £2,300 and £965 respectively.
The SMF has called on the UK government to adopt a “comprehensive whole system” approach to address fraud, including recruiting more specialist staff who are trained to handle complex crimes.
“Britain’s shocking record on card fraud compared to major European economies is yet another reminder of how UK law enforcement has failed to keep up with the epidemic,” said Richard Hyde, SMF senior researcher. “Policymakers need to reflect further on why we’re at this stage.”
He said it would take more than just increasing police staff. “Whilst specialist staff will certainly play a crucial role, the entire fraud law enforcement landscape needs an overhaul – with reforms that will transform the system and enact lasting change,” added Hyde.
He warned that there was no time to delay.
While card-not-present fraud made up 84% of total UK card fraud, the other types of fraud analysed were point-of-sale fraud, where a stolen or cloned card is used to buy something, and ATM fraud, where a stolen or copied card is used to withdraw cash.