03/11/20216 min

Anti-fraud ecommerce trends in 2021

The 2021 Global Fraud Report, presented by Cybersource and the Merchant Risk Council (MRC), provides insights into the state of eCommerce fraud and how merchants are managing it. The Report gives merchants access to the latest industry fraud data, shows what fraud management methods their peers are using, and provides a robust set of performance benchmarks to help them optimize their business.

For ease of use, the report is organized into three sections, outlined below with some of the key findings.

The Business impacts of ecommerce fraud

How are merchant businesses affected by fraud, how have those impacts evolved since 2019, and where do the variations lie?

  • More fraud attempts, higher costs. COVID-19 led to an increase in fraud attacks and fraud rate by revenue for around three-quarters of merchants. Additionally, fraud management spending and KPIs have all increased since 2019.
  • Impact variations. All merchants have been affected by what has been a turbulent year, but those effects have been especially strongly felt by mid-market merchants and merchants in APAC and Latin America.
  • MRC members report lower fraud rates by revenue. Businesses who are MRC members have generally fared better than non-members, and report lower fraud rates by revenue. They also use a broader range of fraud prevention tools than non-members to thwart fraud attacks.

The Range of fraud attacks

Merchants are facing a higher volume of fraud attacks; but where are they most vulnerable?

  • Friendly fraud tops the list. Friendly fraud, card testing, phishing and identity theft are the most common attacks merchants experience globally.
  • More of the same. The volume of fraud attacks experienced has gone up, but the variety of attacks has gone down. 

However, MRC members report a greater variety of attack types than non-members—perhaps because they use a more diverse fraud detection toolset or are more educated about the types of fraud attack out there.

Prevention strategies

Knowing what they do about eCommerce payment fraud, what strategies are merchants developing to address the issue?

  • Focus on customer experience (CX). Despite the increase in fraud attacks and lost revenues, more than half of merchants this year are focusing their fraud management strategies on protecting and improving the customer experience (rather than, for example, minimizing fraud-related operational costs).
  • A streamlined toolkit. At a tactical level, many merchants are rationalizing their fraud management toolkits and relying more heavily on just a handful of tried-and-tested tools than in 2019.

About the survey

The 2021 Global Fraud Report is designed as a benchmark report that provides transparent research. The survey was carried out in March and April 2021 with 650 respondents involved in eCommerce fraud management decisions at companies based in Europe, North America, APAC and Latin America.
Look out for further blogs in the series which will explore individual survey results in more depth.

To see all the results now, download the full report.


  1. "Global Fraud Survey Results 2021," Cybersource and MRC, 2021, p5
  2. "Global Fraud Survey Results 2021," Cybersource and MRC, 2021, p5
  3. "Global Fraud Survey Results 2021," Cybersource and MRC, 2021, p5
  4. "Global Fraud Survey Results 2021," Cybersource and MRC, 2021, p16
  5. "Global Fraud Survey Results 2021," Cybersource and MRC, 2021, p16
  6. "Global Fraud Survey Results 2021," Cybersource and MRC, 2021, p21
  7. "Global Fraud Survey Results 2021," Cybersource and MRC, 2021, p21

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