Visa’s New Fraud Protection System Detects Credit Card User’s Risk At The Gas Pump

This year credit card companies have sought out ways to make credit card use safer and more secure for consumers. While we’re still waiting for the widespread implementation of chip-and-pin cards, Visa is attempting to tackle fraud at one of its more common sources: the gas pump.

Visa announced new software intended to protect consumers and gas stations by trying to detect the likelihood that someone is using a stolen, lost or counterfeit credit card to fill up, The Washington Post reports.

Visa Transaction Advisor, which is already in use at 25,000 service stations, analyzes 500 pieces of data that have already been collected about cardholders, such as location and past transaction history, to create a risk score between 0 and 100 for each card being used.

Service stations that use the software are able to set a risk threshold and if the user’s card has a risk score higher than that set standard the user will be prompted to see the store’s attendant.

“If a fraudster gets that message, they’re going to drive away. The genuine consumer is going to go to the attendant to finish the transaction,” Mark Nelsen, Visa’s vice president of risk products and business intelligence, tells the Post.

So far the stores using Visa Transaction Advisor have reported a 23% drop in fraud at their pumps. Visa tested the system at 300 Southern California Chevron stations before rolling it out to additional merchants.

The self-serve environment of gas stations provide the perfect occasion for fraudsters to test lost, stolen or counterfeited cards to see if they’re working before using them elsewhere.

While the upcoming implementation of chip-and-pin cards, also known as EMV cards, could significantly cut down on the amount of fraud associated with credit cards, it’s likely to be a slower rollout for gas stations, as they would require more significant hardware upgrades than most retailers.

Merchants and financial firms have been given until 2015 to equip their systems to accept the new technology, but gas stations received an extension giving them until 2017 to replace the readers in their pumps.

Nelson said the gap of time in which gas stations aren’t protected provided Visa an opportunity to offer the merchants additional fraud protection.

“It’s going to take longer for gas stations to deploy the technology, so we’re getting that risk intelligence down to those stations so they can better protect their consumers and themselves,” Nelsen tells the Post.

Visa wants to make it even harder for thieves to buy gas with your credit card [The Washington Post]

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  1. SpeakBob says:

    If I were to get this message while using my card, I would think the machine is broken and either go to another or leave. If I were to get this message from multiple machines, I would think that there was a possibility that the entire gas station was hacked or has card network problems and then I would leave without buying gas there, possibly calling my credit card company and warning them that I couldn’t use my card at a specific location and that it might be compromised now. I use the self serve pumps so that I don’t have to go inside, so a false fraud notice would make me not want to use my card anymore.

  2. SuperSpeedBump says:

    What about false positives? Their current system of blocking charges until you call them sure is annoying, so I can only imagine how annoying this will be.