Smartcards 'pushing credit card crime to Australia'

The introduction of security-protected credit cards in Europe and Asia-Pacific could lead to rising fraud activity down under, according to new research
Written by Andrew Colley, Contributor

The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has raised the spectre of Australia becoming a haven for credit card criminals, in its latest research on electronic crime.

According the institute's latest research on e-crime displacement trends, Australia is in danger of becoming a hot-spot for magnetic-stripe card fraud, attracting criminals from locations such as Europe and other markets in the Asia-Pacific where take-up rates of cards with more sophisticated security protection features are higher.

Visa Australia, which is seeking to integrate its contact-less chip credit cards with smart card-based state public transport mass ticketing facilities, said Australia was in danger of becoming a main point of card fraud in the Asia Pacific region.

According to Visa Australia, France's decision to convert all its domestic cards to chip cards in the mid-to-late 90s may have contributed to increases in credit card fraud in neighbouring countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. The company believes that trend would persist across other geographic regions.

According to Vipin Kalra, head of chip cards for Visa Australia and New Zealand, the trend is particularly relevant in the case of Australia, where smart card take-up rates are very slow when compared neighbouring countries.

"In the Asia-Pacific region, four out of the top five Asia-Pacific markets are moving to chip," said Kalra. "Australia is the only one not moving to chip, which means we do run the risk of becoming the hub or the focal point of fraud."

Kalra said Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan and Korea had made the decision to move to chip cards at a national level, banks and governments cooperating on the conversion process.

"Australia hasn't made that decision yet. Even though banks are planning to introduce smart cards, banks haven't made that decision yet," said Kalra

The AIC's observation was part of a wider discussion on displacement of electronic crime.

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