Media Releases

  • Payments Fraud

    "Chip card technology and extensive use of PINs is giving us a real chance to stamp out card skimming."



    Sydney: 6 June 2013

    Payments fraud in Australia declines in 2012

    Payments fraud figures released today by the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA), the payments industry self-regulatory body, show a year-on-year drop for the first time since 2006 when publication began.

    The new figures for the 2012 calendar year show that the total amount of fraud on Australian cheques and payment cards dropped by 10% to $270m. When calculated as a proportion of the total amount transacted by Australians using these payment instruments, fraud dropped from 16.3c to 15.0c in every $1,000 transacted. Within this total:

    • Cheque fraud remained under 1c in every $1,000 transacted. 
    • Fraud on all Australian payment cards dropped by 11% to $261m. The rate of fraud dropped from 51.5c to 43.5c in every $1,000 transacted.
    • Scheme credit, debit and charge card fraud (signature-permitted debit, credit and charge cards and card-not-present (CNP) transactions) dropped from 96.4c to 79.3c in every $1,000 transacted.
    • Proprietary debit card fraud (PIN-only cards – POS and ATM transactions) increased from 4.9c to 5.4c in every $1,000 transacted.

    Today’s figures, including a breakdown by fraud types, are available at

    Counterfeit and skimming fraud on Australian-issued scheme credit, debit and charge cards - used domestically and overseas - dropped by 53% over the past year to $27.6m, the lowest level since 2006.

    APCA CEO Chris Hamilton said “This promising news reflects the sustained effort of card schemes, financial institutions, merchants and law enforcement agencies. Chip card technology and extensive use of PINs is giving us a real chance to stamp out card skimming. This allows the industry to devote more preventative effort to online fraud, which continues to be a challenge as the internet becomes an ever larger part of daily life.”

    Over the past year, CNP fraud (occurring mainly online) dropped by 8% to $183m. This is against an increase of more than 20%1 in internet shopping over the same period. The drop in CNP fraud can largely be attributed to an increase in the use of authentication tools such as MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa, as well as dedicated fraud prevention tools.

    Mr Hamilton said that while this first drop in CNP fraud is encouraging, there is no room for complacency. “It is essential that retailers and consumers get smart about online card fraud by taking some simple but powerful security measures when on the Net.”

    Information and video case studies on how small online retailers can protect their businesses and customers from card fraud are available at 

    The total amount of fraud on proprietary debit cards remained low at $16m. This is despite a 30% increase to $9.5m in counterfeit and skimming fraud, primarily driven by skimming at ATMs and in taxis over the year.

    “Helping to prevent this type of fraud can be as simple as watching how your card is swiped and making sure to protect your PIN with your hand when entering it at POS terminals and ATMs,” said Mr Hamilton.

    More tips on how consumers can protect against skimming fraud are available at

    Despite the overall decline, today’s figures also show an increase in fraud occurring on lost and stolen cards. As fraud detection tools become more sophisticated, criminals tend to revert to theft or deceiving consumers to hand over their cards or PINs. Consumers are reminded to immediately report a lost or stolen card to their financial institution and to check their statements carefully for any unauthorised transactions.

    Importantly, Australian consumers are not liable if unauthorised transactions are made with their cards and will be reimbursed their funds as long as they have taken due care.


    For further information

    Contact: Ida Turner, APCA Communications
    P: (02) 9216 4817 M: 0409716556




    How to protect against online card fraud

    Tips for retailers:

    • Use a fully hosted payment gateway provider to collect payments on your behalf.
    • Watch for suspicious orders. Is the order unusually large for your business? Is the customer trying various cards in order to make a successful payment?
    • Avoid shipping re-saleable goods to a temporary address (eg hotel) or to a PO box number.
    • Never take payments on behalf of any other business or person.
    • Only make refunds to the card originally used to pay for the goods.
    • Take advantage of the tools available such as online authentication methods - MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa.

    Tips for consumers:

    • Always keep your PC security software up-to-date and do a full scan often.
    • Only provide your card details on secure websites - look for the locked padlock.
    • Register for, and use your financial institution’s online fraud prevention solutions whenever prompted.
    • Check your account statements and report any suspicious transactions to your financial institution. 


    • 1 NAB Online Retail Sales Index 

    Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited ABN 12 055 136 519
    Level 6, 14 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000 Telephone +61 2 9221 8944 Facsimile +61 2 9221 8057 

  • Towards a Digital Economy

    A new report released as part of an industry action plan to manage the decline of cheques



    30 April 2013 

    Cheques continue to decline: APCA releases progress report on transition of Australian payments to the digital economy

    The Australian Payments Clearing Association, the payments industry self-regulatory body, released today the first in a series of planned reports on transition of Australian payments to the digital economy as part of an industry action plan to manage the decline of cheques.

    Today’s report entitled “Towards the Digital Economy: Milestones Report” shows that cheque use in Australia continues to decline rapidly. Figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia show that for the year to 31 December 2012, cheque use dropped 12.5% – down from 256 million to 224 million. Over the past decade, cheque use has dropped by 66%. This decline is consistent with international trends.

    APCA CEO Chris Hamilton said “Assuming current trends continue, by 2018 cheques are likely to be a rarity. Our report is about making sure no Australians are left behind when that happens.”

    Today’s report reviews progress against the action plan released by APCA in May 2012(1) to ensure businesses and consumers that still rely on cheques are able to switch to electronic payments as cheques become scarcer and inevitably more difficult to use.

    The Report highlights initiatives and actions being undertaken by financial institutions, government and other stakeholders to provide alternatives to cheques and improve access to the digital economy including:

    • roll-out of the National Broadband Network and associated education programmes
    • implementation of a nationwide electronic and property settlement system through
    • National E-Conveyancing Development Limited
    • industry development of new real-time payments infrastructure
    • education programmes to promote online banking and use of mobile phones for payments
    • review of legislation that refers specifically to payment by cheque or cash only.

    “We have consulted publicly on cheques and there has been significant effort to engage government and other stakeholders on managing cheque decline. Today’s report shows good progress in implementing the resulting Recommendations and Commitments,” said Mr Hamilton.

    “Towards the Digital Economy: Milestones Report” is available at APCA plans to release the next milestones report around the end of 2013. 



    Ida Turner, APCA Communications 

    Tel. (02) 9216 4817
    Mobile: 0409 716 556 


    (1) “The Decline of Cheques: Building a Bridge to the Digital Economy” is available at

    Australian Payments Clearing Association Limited ABN 12 055 136 519
    Level 6, 14 Martin Place, Sydney NSW 2000 Telephone +61 2 9221 8944 Facsimile +61 2 9221 8057

  • Real-Time Payments

    The PSB welcomes the Committee's proposal for developing new infrastructure for fast, data rich payments.




    New real-time payment services for Australia

    The Real-Time Payments Committee is pleased that the Payments System Board has welcomed the Committee’s proposal for developing next generation real-time payments infrastructure in Australia.

    The Committee comprises seven leading financial institutions, supported by the Australian Payments Clearing Association1.

    The new infrastructure will enable fast, data-enriched and simply addressed payments services for Australian businesses and consumers. This complies with the Payments System Board’s strategic objectives relating to real-time payments, released in June 2012.

    The Committee Chair Dr Jennifer Fagg said, “The Payments System Board’s support of the proposal is a testimony to the industry’s collaboration and cooperation, working closely with the Reserve Bank, to improve the Australian Payments System.”

    The business architecture will be layered, comprising:

    • general purpose infrastructure, including a central clearing utility and simpler addressing solution, to be built collaboratively by financial institutions and connecting to real-time settlement at the Reserve Bank; plus
    •  overlay services that can be tailored to particular payment needs, starting with an initial consumer-oriented “convenience” service.

    “Splitting infrastructure and services greatly increases the potential of the system. We can promote efficiency, integrity and broad access through the general purpose infrastructure while seeking to foster competition and future innovation through overlay services,” said Dr Fagg.

    “We are looking forward to a range of real-time payment services developing over time. The bottom line is this would be good for Australian consumers and businesses – giving them more choice in making payments safely,” added Dr Fagg.

    A steering committee, to be formed, will be tasked with the implementation of the new payments system. The industry will be working to have the new infrastructure and initial convenience service available by the end of 2016.

    The Committee’s proposal is available here


    For further information

    Contact: Ida Turner, APCA Communications P: (02) 9216 4817 M: 0409716556 

    1Organisations with representatives on the Committee are ANZ, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, CBA, Citigroup, Cuscal, NAB and Westpac. Further information on the Committee is available at