News & Resources

Credit card fraud remains a concern for consumers

Mar 19, 2011 Brian Bradley

Despite recent positive consumer trends, cardholders still possess a fairly high level of concern regarding the exposure of their credit cards to fraud, according to a survey from ACI Worldwide released this week. According to the research company's findings, 50 percent of worldwide consumers have some measure of fear that their credit card information will either be comprised or is sensitive to theft. However, ACI also found that consumers remain unsure of how to protect their information. In the United States, 20 percent of consumers throw their bank account receipts in the trash without properly shredding them. Another 16 percent have accessed their debit or credit card accounts online without the protection of security software. An additional 7 percent responded to emails that solicited credit card information, while 10 percent carry around their PINs along with their cards. ACI found that approximately three in 10 U.S. consumers have been affected by some form of credit card fraud, which has increasingly stoked fears. Much of consumer concern relates to the possible loss of financial information, a detail that worries 49 percent of respondents. The economy is also concerning respondents, with 58 percent of consumers believing the rate of fraud is increasing. Another 74 percent believe a shaky economy increases their susceptibility to theft, while 37 percent believe having less money "would exacerbate the problem." Interestingly enough, more respondents (15 percent) believe money lost due to fraud would end up in some form of organized crime, compared to the 10 percent who worry about the damage it would cause to their credit rating. ACI's survey comes at a time when consumers are decreasing their use of plastic. According to the Federal Reserve, the amount of outstanding credit card debt fell by $4.2 billion in January. Overall debit remains at $795.5 billion, but it is the lowest figure in six years. The New York Times reports that the rise in credit card debt - the first in two years at the time - was offset by the decrease in January. However, despite losses in credit card borrowing, overall borrowing has risen to record levels. According to the Federal Reserve, term loans for big-ticket items jumped by $9.3 billion in January to approximately $1.6 trillion.