Interac - Chip technology helping in the fight against Interac® debit card fraud.

Chip technology helping in the fight against Interac® debit card fraud

Interac debit card fraud skimming losses down 41 per cent year-over-year


March 6, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – Today, Interac Association announced that Interac debit card fraud losses to financial institutions resulting from skimming declined to $70 million in 2011 from $119 million in 2010 and a high of $142 million in 2009. The number of cardholders reimbursed fell to 154,170 from 205,200 in 2010 and 238,000 in 2009. This represents 0.0229 per cent of domestic debit card volume and the lowest volume of fraud losses since data were recorded in 2003. Cardholders are protected from losses under the Interac Zero Liability Policy*.

"Our collective efforts and significant investments in the fight against debit card fraud, particularly the transition to chip technology, are producing tangible benefits," said Caroline Hubberstey, Head of External Affairs, Interac Association. "The transition to chip technology is all about making a safe system even more secure and that is what's happening. While significant progress is being made, the fight continues and no one is resting on their laurels."

Chip technology is both secure and smart. It gives the card the ability to store and process data securely. Unlike a magnetic stripe, this processing power makes it extremely difficult to copy and reproduce. This processing power is used, together with cryptography to allow the card and terminal to communicate with one another to carry out security checks to ensure the card is valid. Chip technology also enables advancements like Interac Flash™, which is currently being rolled out.

Interac Flash, the contactless enhancement of Interac Debit, leverages EMV-based secure chip processing, instead of magnetic stripe data type processing. This protects Interac Flash enabled cards against skimming, counterfeiting, and transaction replay types of fraud, including electronic pick-pocketing where readers are used to capture information.

"Security is of paramount concern for us," emphasized Hubberstey. "By also choosing to leverage chip technology for Interac Flash enabled debit cards, we have taken strong steps to protect cardholders from tactics that criminals are using to capture data on contactless cards, such as electronic pick-pocketing."

Under Interac rules, card-not-present transactions and fallback to the magnetic stripe are not permitted. Further, given the structure of Interac Online, Internet shoppers can make secure online debit purchases directly from their bank accounts, without the need to provide any personal financial information, including card and account numbers, to online merchants. Stolen Interac debit cards and even PINs cannot be used to complete Internet transactions.

Interac chip debit cards and terminals are currently rolling out across Canada. By the end of this year (2012) all Automated Banking Machines (ABMs) and Interac debit cards will be converted to chip technology and by the end of 2015, all Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals. In many cases, conversion is ahead of schedule. As of the end of 2011, 90 per cent of Interac debit cards and 84 per cent of terminals (ABMs/POS terminals combined) had been converted.

In support of Fraud Prevention Month, Interac Association, a member of the Competition Bureau's Fraud Prevention Forum, has created an infographic that highlights the numbers above and also provides further insight to consumers around the security of Interac debit card transactions using chip technology.


About Interac Association

A recognized world leader in debit card services, Interac Association is responsible for the development and operations of the Interac network, a national payment network that allows Canadians to access their money through 59,000 Automated Banking Machines and 727,000 point-of-sale terminals across Canada. Interac Association has also recently introduced Interac Flash, a secure contactless enhancement of Interac Debit that allows Canadians to pay for items instantly by simply 'flashing' their Interac chip debit card at a reader that supports Interac Flash.

Interac Association was founded in 1984 and is comprised of a diverse membership that includes banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires, merchants, and technology and payment related companies.

Other related services offered by Acxsys Corporation, whose shareholders are the architects of the Interac network, include: Interac Online, for secure online payments made directly from a bank account; Interac e-Transfer™, for the transfer of money from one person's bank account to another person's bank account using an email address or mobile phone number**; and international services, which provide Canadian cardholders with point-of-sale access at nearly 2 million U.S. retailers, and PULSE, Discover, Diners Club International and UnionPay cardholders access to ABMs in Canada.

®, ™: Interac, Interac Flash and Interac e-Transfer are trade-marks of Interac Inc. used under license.

* All Interac cardholders are protected from losses resulting from circumstances beyond their control under the Interac Zero Liability Policy. See your financial institution for details.

** The Interac e-Transfer service, for secure person-to-person payments, is currently available to customers of over 90 banks and credit unions including BMO Bank of Montreal, CIBC, President's Choice Financial, National Bank, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust among others. Central 1, through participating credit unions, offers the option of using mobile phone numbers, in addition to email, to notify Interac e-Transfer recipients. Money never travels by email or text message. More information about the Interac e- Transfer service and a complete list of participating banks and credit unions can be found at