Vesta Report: Analyzing the Latest Evolution of Card-Not-Present Fraud

    cnp-fraud-report-consumer spend online


    Ecommerce transactions have been on the rise for years, but when you look at the number of digital transactions in 2020, it’s clear the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated ecommerce growth.

    According to Digital Commerce 360, in 2020 consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants alone, which is an increase of 44% year-over-year and is triple the 15.1% growth we saw in 2019

    While consumers’ affinity for online shopping is good news for ecommerce merchants, there’s a looming threat that many are unprepared to handle, and that’s card-not-present (CNP) fraud

    At Vesta, we process billions of dollars of CNP transactions and work with merchants across the globe to prevent CNP fraud. Our deep well-honed insights peek into how fraudsters operate and how damaging their attacks can be for every company considering or engaging in online transactions. 

    In this report, you’ll find insights into how much fraudsters tried to steal, how their attacks in the U.S. compared to those in Mexico, which operating systems they’re using to make fraudulent transactions, and how they’ve become more sophisticated over time.

    Download the Full Report

    The report covers how CNP fraud impacts merchants 

    We created a global breakdown of how CNP fraud has changed from Q1 2020 through Q1 2021. We analyzed the percentage of total transactions that our transaction guarantee platform identified as having a very high likelihood of being fraudulent, as well as the average value of each of the transactions.






    • 1% dip in fraud from Q1 2020 to Q2 2020
    • The average dollar amount per fraudulent transaction increased by $13 to $139, (a 10% increase)
    • The % of attempted fraud was lowest in Q4 2020 likely due to the larger volume of seasonal transactions during the holidays
    • The average dollar amount per fraudulent transaction was the highest in Q4 ($155)  indicating that fraudsters are particularly aggressive around the holidays 


    CNP Fraud in the U.S. vs Mexico

    Vesta works with merchants all over the world, but we have a particularly strong concentration of customers in the U.S. and Mexico, so we took a closer look at how fraud varies in these markets. 



    The percentage of attempted fraudulent transactions in the U.S. is substantially lower than in Mexico, but the value of these transactions is higher in the U.S. with the exception of Q4 2020 ($149 in the U.S. vs $155 in Mexico).

    • Fraud might not be as prevalent in the U.S. as it is in Mexico, merchants should still put a system in place to carefully vet U.S. transactions to protect their margins given the higher value of each fraudulent transaction
    •  Mexico’s ecommerce market is still quite nascent compared to the U.S., so one would expect to see a higher percentage of fraud attempts until the market matures

    Direct and Indirect Fraud Linkage

    There are two types of CNP fraud that merchants need to watch out for but one is very difficult to spot:

    1. Direct linkage, there is some common connection within these transactions that merchants can look for to determine a transaction is fraudulent and decide not to accept it. For example, if five orders come in at the same time for the same item and from the same email address, that’s a clear link that suggests the transactions could be fraudulent

    2. Indirect linkage, there is no clear connection, making it incredibly difficult for a merchant to spot the fraud before the transaction has already been approved, at which point there is no way to undo it



    Download the full report to gain more insights into Global CNP Fraud Trends