UK Banks fighting fraud with automated calls prevent £2.8 million in losses every month

140,000 UK cardholders contacted per month by computer as automation of anti-fraud transaction verification phone calls become routine

20th May 2005 – High street banks are automating transaction verification phone calls made to credit and debit cardholders in a move that is already helping them prevent £2.8 million in fraud losses every month. Using new computer technology to make the calls in concert with staffed call centres is enabling UK high street banks to cover 30-50% more suspicious transactions than was achievable using call centres alone. The British company behind the technology, Adeptra, predicts that losses prevented using this technique will more than double by the end of this year.

The computerised, interactive phone call technology – known as "auto-resolution" – is part of a raft of measures introduced to reduce levels of UK card fraud, which topped £0.5 billion for the first time last year (APACS figures). While Chip and Pin is a very visible example of new anti-fraud tactics, auto-resolution works behind the scenes to help banks contact cardholders more quickly when fraud is suspected on their account.

Adeptra, which counts five of the top ten UK high street banking groups among its clients, currently handles more than 30,000 automated cases every week, a number which is rapidly growing as banks expand their usage of auto-resolution. Using a combination of recorded dialogue and computerised speech, its system identifies and confirms the proper cardholder and then verifies details of transactions the bank suspects may be fraudulent. The cardholder responds to the computer to confirm if they authorised the transaction. If they did not, the bank can then take immediate action to stop the card and prevent further losses there and then.

Phil Wilson, CEO of Adeptra, explains how auto-resolution is effective in preventing millions in losses: "Of all transactions taking place that banks consider suspicious, only a small percentage - in many banks, as low as 4% - actually turn out to be fraud. It takes outbound call centres many hours to contact these affected cardholders and all the while more fraud can be taking place. Automating the calls enables banks to reach cardholders much more quickly, so fraud is stopped sooner."

Mike Davis of IT analyst company, Butler Group, commented: "Using an automated tool set, and a virtual contact centre for verifying that 19 out of 20 transactions are valid is a no-brainer. Not only is it faster and cheaper, it frees up the human operators to do the high value work of liaising with cardholders to minimise the direct fraud on their accounts and establishing intelligence to help catch the fraudsters."

"This is one of those rare win-win situations," said Wilson. "For the banks, the savings made are enabling credit departments to entirely restructure their approach to fraud to prevent even greater losses in future. For consumers, a quick response to an automated call means fewer incidences of fraud will find their way onto monthly statements. It also gives peace of mind to know that every effort is being made to keep the integrity of their account intact."

Adeptra’s auto-resolution applications are deployed with the best interests of consumers in mind. Calls are made only at appropriate times of day, there is always the option to speak to a fraud analyst and cardholders can opt out of receiving automated calls altogether if they desire.

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