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GEARING UP: HOLIDAY SEASON PLANNING GUIDE · PDF file Poorly planned holiday season fraud...

Date post:21-May-2020
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    With a stronger global economy, 2018 consumer expenditure is expected to grow at its

    strongest rate since 20111. ACI understands that success for merchants and retailers has

    never been more critical.

    We crafted this eGuide to provide you with the latest insights and information you need

    as you plan and prepare for the holiday season.



    Timelines and milestone dates you’ll find important for planning

    Spotlight areas to drive success within your business

    Key resources and information for peak season

    75% of consumers globally are very interested in receiving a call or SMS messaging to their mobile device to help mitigate fraud2.

    Only 43% of global consumers trust merchants to protect personal data2.

    Globally 80% of consumers think their mobile wallet’s personal and financial information is secure2.

    Consumers are upbeat: Over 25% are spending more on products and experiences this year2.

    Worldwide, the #1 security concern is theft by computer hacking2.

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    Internal supplemental audit and testing

    • Review and test systems:

    - Infrastructure

    - Storage

    - Applications

    - Databases

    External vendor/partner preparedness

    • Communicate updated peak estimates to

    vendors to assist in their management of

    cumulative resource needs

    • Communicate special requirements or

    requests to vendors early

    • Validate vendor preparedness

    • Obtain support and escalation resources

    and align with internal teams

    Create a plan and communicate, communicate, communicate

    • Plan based on estimates plus a healthy margin:

    - Capacity

    - Staff

    - Interoperability

    Create and enact communications plans

    • Establish internal communications processes

    across business units, including “what if”

    scenarios and contingency actions, and

    assign responsibilities and escalation points

    • Create external communications plans,

    pre-draft content where possible, and assign

    responsibilities, resources and escalation

    paths, and set expectations




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    During the holiday season volumes spike,

    both genuine and fraudulent consumer

    behaviors change and pressure mounts.

    Opportunities increase for fraudsters —

    and maintaining the right balance between

    customer experience, sales conversions and

    risk mitigation becomes even more critical.

    Poorly planned holiday season fraud

    strategies risk disappointing your genuine

    customers, pushing them into the arms

    of competitors and inviting fraudsters to

    target your business, resulting in higher


    Adjusting your fraud strategy ahead of

    and during the holiday season is crucial.

    Recognizing your existing customers even

    if they are displaying unusual shopping

    characteristics during this time is key for

    both customer experience and also for your

    conversion rates


    Erika Dietrich Leader of Global Risk Services ACI Worldwide

    22% was the increase in fraud

    attempts in the period from

    Thanksgiving to December 31

    in 2017 compared to 2016. So,

    despite the sales uplift (overall

    transactions increased by 19%),

    one out of every 85 transactions

    was a fraud attempt3.

    Erika Dietrich leads ACI’s Global Risk Services

    team and is a member of the Merchant Risk

    Councils Americas Advisory Board (AAB). She

    is a certified eCommerce fraud professional with

    more than 15 years’ experience in data analytics

    and fraud detection and prevention strategy




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    In this Q&A, Erika Dietrich, Leader of Risk Services, shares advice on how merchants can best

    prepare their fraud management strategies for the holiday season.


    DID YOU KNOW... In recent years at ACI,

    we have seen 78% of

    fraud attempts come

    from customers with

    no account history

    with a merchant4.


    Q2 Beyond software, what else can merchants do?

    ED: You must understand your weak points.

    If you were compromised before, be sure

    that gap has been addressed and tailor your

    strategies to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

    If something like delivery fraud was a problem

    before, identify the postcodes which need

    higher review rates and re-focus reviews and

    resources from areas which pose less risk.

    Also, be sure to consider anything that’s

    changed since your last peak period. Are

    there new product lines, sales channels,

    payment methods and delivery options? Are

    these initiatives protected with specific and

    tailored fraud rules and strategies? Be sure

    to account for everything of this nature when


    Q3 How can merchants maintain security and deliver a great customer experience?

    ED: It starts with first being mindful of the

    customer experience. Fraud solutions must

    be complementary to a great experience.

    Identify your loyal customers and their

    preferred channels. Customers today are

    using many devices and methods to shop,

    and it’s important to recognize and enable

    this audience.

    One way to do this is to use customer

    profiling and time-on-file techniques to

    maintain the customer experience for valued

    customers and ensure good transactions

    are still accepted. This provides a good

    experience while still being strong enough to

    recognize popular attack methods, such as

    account takeover.

    Q1 What initial steps should merchants take to prepare their systems?

    ED: First, I would recommend deploying

    automated risk strategies. Doing this can help

    to reduce manual review rates and lower call

    center expenses, which will help to control

    the demand on internal resources, who can

    then focus their energy in other directions.

    Next, be sure to utilize early warning

    indicators. Access to these tools, such as

    acquirer-reported fraud, will help to quickly

    reduce your exposure and mitigate losses.

    These are great places to start.


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    Q5 How important is it to gain internal alignment?

    ED: Very! You must speak with your

    colleagues to gain alignment and clarity.

    Cross-functional communication (with IT,

    finance, customer services and marketing)

    can build a picture of previous efforts and

    outcomes which will then inform this year’s


    It is essential that you gain a 360-degree

    view of your organization’s season campaigns

    and promotions. Make sure you are aware

    of anything that may inadvertently provide

    opportunities for fraudsters. Raise your

    concerns about potential problems and offer

    solutions that are informed by your fraud

    monitoring processes, analytics and reporting.

    Now that you know of the season plans,

    adjust your rules accordingly to allow for

    the potential changes in genuine customer

    buying behavior. After all, a successful

    campaign will drive more sales and possibly

    form new channels and customers. Your

    marketing department will be quite happy to

    see their efforts rewarded by a fraud solution

    that welcomes these new, good transactions.

    Q4 Can you speak a bit on the need for proactivity and manual reviews?

    ED: Absolutely. Merchants must be fully

    aware of the hot spots and trends in fraud,

    especially the trends found within your

    system. For example, analyze and monitor the

    cards, IP and email addresses that pose the

    biggest threat. Once you identify them, factor

    them into your rules and alert triggers.

    The data at your disposal is invaluable, and

    I would recommend using as much of it as

    you possibly can. If possible, dedicate one

    individual into looking holistically at data

    and trends, including decisions, individual

    performances, rules, volumes and KPIs.

    Remember, every review you complete adds

    to the fraud intelligence information you can

    use to inform your decision making.

    Also, be aware of the other parts of the

    process that trigger declines — 3D Secure,

    AVS/CV2 responses and bank declines. You

    must be prepared to manage those, as they

    can trigger multiple customer attempts,

    putting further pressure on your already-

    stressed website.

    Finally, explore the use of silent rules

    and reporting tools to screen lower-risk


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