Visa program aims to stop credit card fraud at the pump - KCTV5 News

Visa program aims to stop credit card fraud at the pump

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Credit card giant Visa is working to install a new layer of protection to stop credit card fraud at gasoline pumps.

The pilot program is proving so successful that it can be added to virtually every pump in the United States.

Visa Transaction Advisor (VTA) enables merchants to use real-time authorization risk scores to identify transactions that could involve lost, stolen or counterfeit cards. A pilot test of the new service showed a 23 percent reduction in the rate of fraudulent transactions.

"The way VISA Transaction Advisor works is after the consumer swipes their card at the pump then the gas station sends that request to Visa. We analyze for fraud and we look at over 500 elements of the transaction, "said Mark Nelsen, a vice president for Visa. "We analyze the fraud risk, we determine the score and if it meets or surpasses the threshold we send a response back to the merchant's terminal."

The risk score is from 0 to 99 and the individual gas station sets the risk limit they are willing to accept at the pump. For example, if you are buying gas in Lee's Summit today and buy gas in California tomorrow, then it could exceed the threshold and require you to see the gas station 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," said Nelsen.

Many consumers think it's a great program that protects retailers and honest consumers. Retailers typically pass part of the cost of fraud onto consumers.

While global fraud rates across the Visa payment system remain near historic lows, less than 6 cents for every $100 transacted at fuel pumps can be targets for criminals because they are often self-service terminals.

"That's crazy I mean I can believe it because there's times where a friend might give you a card and you go get gas for them and there's no security behind it you just swipe it and go," said area driver Dan Woolston.

The transaction verification program is already active at more than 25,000 stations, and plans are to expand it.

"I would rather be protected you know if it takes me one minute to walk inside and it saves me from having someone stealing money from me then yeah, I think it will help," Woolston said.

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