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Interviews

Mark Gerban, MRC: "Merchants who educate themselves in business tactics become more successful at tackling fraud"

Tuesday 23 June 2015 | 08:53 AM CET

The online industry has become so lucrative for criminals, that attacks have become a daily occurrence in general business

MRC US and Europe spring conferences took place last months. Against this backdrop, could you mention what trends and developments in e-payments and payment fraud industries should merchants take into account for the near future?

One of the common discussion points these days is not “if” a breach will happen, but “when.” The online industry has become so lucrative for criminals, that attacks have become something of a daily occurrence in general business. This has even allowed traditional merchants to finally open their eyes in seeing that fraud is a problem for everyone, where fraud itself has become a general company concern.

We also noticed a trend in alternative payments, since many payment types are able to curb fraudulent risks to a minimum. Alternative payment types also give merchants new opportunities in reaching certain target groups, and can even be leveraged for marketing and distribution purposes.

Perhaps the most noticeable of all points is that mobile business has become a huge factor for almost all merchants, and that omni-channel business has been redefined on not just a business level, but a fraud and payments level as well.

MRC has recently released the final results of the 'Global Fraud Survey'. What are the key takeaways for merchants, as highlighted by the survey in question?

Merchants who are educating themselves in utilizing proper business techniques and tactics are becoming more successful at challenging chargebacks and protecting their businesses. It is likely due to merchant awareness of the major data breach and hacking problems that have occurred over the last few years, where proper education is finally being sought in handling these problems.

Notably, through implementing proper risk prevention techniques, we are finding that roughly a quarter of all total credit card fraud is considered “friendly fraud.” Merchants are also implementing external tools and creating their own negative lists and rule sets to prevent fraud from occurring. From these types of practices with MRC merchants, we have seen the total average fraud rate go down to 0.53%, which is a reduction from 0.60% for 2014.

Omni-channel commerce was one of the topics on the agenda and will definitively be one of the key topics for the upcoming events. What are the key challenges for payment and fraud managers and what are the learning points from the event?

The greatest challenge in omni-channel business is optimising the user experience on each channel, whereas the entire payment process must appear seamlessly. While payments and fraud are a priority, maximizing conversion and earning or maintaining new business has also become a a matter of great importance, since customers can be engaged for buying products or services anywhere.

With these challenges, there is a grown trend in looking for tools that are effective on cross-channel and mobile specific devices. Omni-channel fraud prevention in relation to the “internet of things,” has become a topic of discussion, since this is a new market segment with a lot of potential for growth. There is also curiosity as to how certain technologies such as tokenization will play a role in the future.

Could you give an update on MRC's current agenda and its future undertakings in order to drive value for the members?

The MRC continually aims to educate merchants and keep them up-to-date on the latest tools, trends and industry benchmarks. It is a merchant-specific group that is non-sales oriented in terms of content, where merchants can truly extend their knowledge by networking and exchanging information with other peers in the industry.

While the MRC has historically been event-driven, it is now undertaking major overhauls on the website, where it aims to be the go-to industry website for fraud and payment knowledge. The organization is also looking at the possibility of expanding its offering with certification courses for its members, and is continually driven and dedicated full-time by its leadership through former merchant-turned-MRC CEO Danielle Nagao.

About Mark Gerban

Mark is Head of Payments at InnoGames and responsible for the fraud and payment operations. He manages a team and oversees a portfolio of 50 international payment methods, serving 150 million users.

Mark is an EU Board Member of the Merchant Risk Council. In 2014, he co-founded TokenID, a tokenization technology that recently won the 2015 Red Herring Europe Top 100 prize, and in 2011 he co-founded the Plug-In Network.

 About the MRC

The MRC is a nonprofit global forum for ecommerce fraud and payments professionals. It was launched in 2000 by a small group of industry professionals from leading consumer brands, with a primary goal to combat online fraud in the card not present space. The MRC later added online payments to its portfolio, expanding its presence further into ecommerce.

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