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Simple SMS code cuts online fraud

Banque de France governor welcomes latest card fraud figures - even though amount of money involved has gone up

A SIMPLE code sent via SMS to mobile phones to confirm online transactions has contributed to a second consecutive annual drop in internet fraud in France, while overall levels of credit card fraud remained stable in 2013, figures reveal.

L'Observatoire de la sécurité des cartes de paiement, revealed that the fraudulent payments amounted to 0.8% of all card transactions in France, though the amount of money involved rose from €450.7m in 2012 to €469.9m in 2013.

Online, the rate fell to 0.229% of all transactions, though the overall cost rose from €109.4m in 2012 to €125m in 2013.

In March, it was reported that the French are - finally - taking to online shopping, spending €26bn on the internet last year.

The news has prompted Banque de France governor Christophe Noyer to say that credit and bank card fraud “is well under control”.

Mr Noyer said: “These results for internet payments reflect the efforts made ​​by issuers and e-tailers (...) to deploy strong authentication.”

One of the most successful innovations has been the 3D Secure system - the sending of simple number codes via SMS to customers’ mobile phones. Online transactions that use this system cannot be completed until the code has been entered.

Nearly 30% of purchases were protected by this authentication method in 2013, even though less than 50% of online retailers made use of it, fearing it accounted for a higher level of failed transactions as internet users got fed up with the time the transactions were taking.

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