ATM skimming losses dip to historic low in EMV-compliant Canada

March 3, 2017

Interac skimming-related debit losses in 2016 declined for the seventh consecutive year, reaching a record low of $11.4 million, according to a press release from the Interac Association.

What's more, figures from the association show that less than one-tenth ($1.5 million) of the fraud occurred in Canada, thanks largely to the completion of a transition to chip technology that began in 2008.

The number of debit cards reimbursed for fraud also hit a record low in 2016. Interac's count of 19,000 reimbursed cards represents a decline of 23 percent from 2015 — and a decline of more than 90 percent from 2009, when 238,000 cards were reimbursed and fraud losses totaled more than $140 million.

But despite record-low fraud numbers, Canadians are increasingly concerned about skimming and electronic pickpocketing, a survey for Interac Association-Acxsys Corp. revealed.

Three-quarters of debit cardholders polled said they were somewhat or very concerned about skimming, up from 49 percent in 2015.

Fear of electronic pickpocketing grew by an even larger amount — from 40 percent in 2015 to 71 percent in 2016.

Joanna Schoneveld, senior manager of fraud programs at Interac, said the findings suggest a misperception among Canadians about their risk of debit card fraud.

"According to our survey, 3 out of 4 Canadians are worried about payment card skimming, and 36 percent have used their payment card less due to this worry — but Interac Debit remains one of the safest ways to pay," she said. "Our secure chip processing makes fraud due to skimming extremely difficult, and that's only one of our antifraud measures. In fact, out of the $351 billion (US$261.15) that went across the Interac Debit network in 2016, only 0.003 percent was fraudulent, with just 0.0004 percent occurring in Canada."

All ATMs and debit cards in Canada were converted to chip technology in 2012. All point-of-sale terminals were chip-enabled as of October 2016, the release said. In addition to chip technology, the Interac network uses monitoring and detection systems to detect fraud even before consumers realize there might be an issue.

The online survey of 1505 Canadians was conducted Feb. 3–Feb. 8, and was weighted by age, gender, and province based on 2015 population estimates.


Topics: EMV, Security, Skimming / Fraud, Trends / Statistics


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