Visa cuts $9 billion in investment in security and fraud initiatives

The multi-layered security approach used by the credit card company to ensure safe transactions in a digital-first world is a part of its increasingly digital-first strategy.

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Visa invested $9 billion in five years to finance new fraud and security measures that include multi-layered cybersecurity and AI, as well as analytics to further protect digital transactions.

In a recent interview with TechRepublic, Michael Jabbara, vice-president and global head for fraud at Visa, said that one service, Visa’s flagship predictive analysis product Advanced Authorization prevented fraud of $26 billion.

Advanced Authorization uses 500 data elements from Visa transactions to give clients a risk score.

Jabbara stated that the $9 billion funding is “the amount of investment required for us to drive innovation within the payment space.” We must continue to invest in Visa’s security foundation and create new capabilities that relate to data, AI, and tokenization so cardholders can transact more securely.

He said that Visa’s technologies allow it to change its focus in response to changing customer behavior and sophisticated threat actors. Some of the funding was used to fund cutting-edge technology, but the majority is going towards services and security platforms.

In a blog post, Paul Fabara (Visa’s chief risk officer), stated that “a lot of attention is given to the innovations in the bleeding edge finance and payments — tap, crypto, and buy now and pay later for example.” The products, platforms, and services that make money movement private, safe, secure, and private are less well-known.

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Security is a collective effort of multiple stakeholders, including Jabbara’s group. It works to protect clients from large-scale data breaches, and offers analytics expertise to enterprises that might not be able, he explained. Visa’s cybersecurity team is responsible for monitoring the network and infrastructure of the credit card giant.

Multi-layered technologies are broken down

Visa continues to invest into 3-DS, the three domain secure protocol that allows merchants and banks to exchange information as they verify and authorize a cardholder’s purchase. Jabbara stated that the protocol provides information about IP address, phone number, and other variables that allow us to “fine tune risk while authorizing transactions to ensure their legitimacy.”

Due to the shift towards online commerce, 3-DS was more widely adopted during the pandemic. Visa also saw a 28% decrease in fraud in Europe in 2021.

In the last five years, the company has invested $500 million to transform huge amounts of data into insights such as the risk associated with billions upon billions of transactions. Jabbara stated that Visa uses deep learning to distinguish legitimate transactions from illegitimate and has seen a 30% decrease in false declines.

Visa’s next wave of consumer protection is called “Authentication 2.0.” Tokens are used to replace cardholder information with a unique identifier that can be used for a specific transaction.

Fabara stated that tokenization has seen a 60% increase year-over-year, which has resulted in a 2.5% rise in approval rates and a 28% decrease in fraud rates. Visa also launched its Cloud Token Framework to increase security and approve card-not present transactions across multiple payment experience and devices.

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Fraud targeting on eCommerce platforms

Jabbara was personally excited about one of the new capabilities that emerged as a result a large spike in digital storefronts during pandemic, mainly small and medium-sized businesses to allow them to continue operating.

He said that fraudsters started targeting these businesses because they don’t usually have the resources or ability to secure their data. Jabbara stated that malware was introduced to the checkout page by attackers so that customers could complete their purchase and then click submit. Payment information would then be sent to a malicious command center and sold on the dark internet.

Visa developed a malware scanning technology called eCommerce Threat Disruption. This scans merchant checkout pages for malicious code. Jabbara stated that they work with merchants to remove malware once it is detected.

The company continues to invest in the monitoring and detection its network, as well as opening three global 24/7 cyber fusion centers that are manned by 1000 cyber professionals. Jabbara stated that for every $100 spent on Visa less than 7 cents are fraudulent due to these investments.

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Next steps

Visa will invest more in AI and continue to improve its foundational platforms.