On October 16, 2018, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System released the latest Federal Reserve Payments Study fraud report (Off-site), which details the cost and number of fraudulent payments in the U.S. The Federal Reserve collected the fraud data using surveys of depository institutions in 2012 and 2015 and payment card networks in 2015 and 2016. The types of fraudulent payments covered in the study are those made by an unauthorized third party.

Key findings include:

  1. Noncash payments fraud, comprising card, Automated Clearing House (ACH) and check fraud, rose from $6.10 billion in 2012 to $8.34 billion in 2015
  2. Generally, payments fraud was a small fraction of the value of all payments; less than 50 cents per $10,000 in noncash payments were fraudulent in 2012 and 2015
  3. Overall, fraud is increasing by both dollar value and number of payments
  4. In 2012 and 2015, most payments fraud was by card
  5. From 2015 to 2016, in-person card fraud declined and remote card fraud increased

The fraud report was a collaborative project of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. The report’s intention is to foster a better understanding of developments in the payments system and to help inform efforts to improve the U.S. payments infrastructure. The Federal Reserve will continue to collect fraud data to determine whether changes foreshadow any persistent trends.

Action Item:

For the full Payments Study, including charts and data tables, visit the Payment Research (Off-site) page on the Board of Governors website.