According to payments processor, ACI Worldwide, global holiday online transactions grew 16 percent from 2015 to 2016. However, online fraud attempts nearly doubled that number over the same time period.

From Thanksgiving day to New Year’s Eve of 2016, there was a 31 percent increase in attempted online fraud, peaking on Christmas Eve as well as shipping and express shipping cutoff days. Furthermore, ACI found that the most recent holiday season, 1 out of every 97 transactions was a fraud attempt, compared to last year when it was 1 out of every 109 transactions.

Other interesting stats:

  • Of all transactions made on Christmas Eve, 1.6 percent were fraudulent. On the standard shipping shipment cutoff date, which varies by merchant, 1.5 percent were counterfeit. For the express shipment cutoff date (which also depends on the e-retailer), 1.7 percent were flagged as fake.
  • The average ticket price of an attempted fraudulent transaction during the 2016 holiday season was $227.84, down 6.1 percent from $242.58 in 2015. This trend was driven by reduced shipping fees, lower-priced electronics, and promotions.
  • Transaction volume on Black Friday increased 19 percent year over year, and on Cyber Monday, it increased 15 percent.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not-so surprisingly), a large portion of attempted fraud occurred in the “buy online/pick up in-store” category. This type of fraud generally involves goods that are purchased with stolen credit cards and card numbers. During the “checkout” process, some stores don’t require users to input a valid address or other verification method. Additionally, during the busy holiday season, stores are usually so crowded that workers simply don’t take the time to verify purchases or ask for proper identification other than asking for a name or a printed sales receipt.

Going forward, curtailing fraud will be a major point of emphasis, especially since many stores are turning to the internet to increase shopping convenience for customers and boost sales. “Given the consistent and alarming uptick in fraudulent activity on key dates, merchants must be proactive in their efforts to identify weak points and define short- and long-term strategies for improved security and enhanced customer experience,” says Markus Rinderer, Senior Vice President of platform solutions for ACI.


National Merchants Association is a merchant services provider dedicated to keeping businesses safe from fraud while providing the lowest payment processing fees in the industry. Contact us today to see how we can help you!