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Digital Payments Fraud Concern Increase in India Due to COVID-19: Study

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Consumers in India are increasingly concerned about digital payments fraud. They are exercising greater caution when using digital payments compared to a year ago, according to a new study conducted by YouGov and ACI Worldwide.

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Around 71 percent of consumers said they are more concerned about scams and fraud because of Covid-19, compared to 47 percent of consumers last year at the onset of the pandemic, said a statement by ACI Worldwide.

The survey showed that net banking is perceived to be the most secure method of payment, and UPI and eWallet transactions scored higher than card payments for both online and offline usage.

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It revealed that around 60 percent of respondents would first call their bank to block their account or visit the bank branch to file a written complaint in the event of fraud, indicating that banks continue to be the first point of contact.

When it comes to the potential fraud risks while transacting through UPI or eWallets, almost half of the consumers are most concerned about fake UPI payment links that ask for money transfers through text or e-mail.

On a positive note, the efforts of the government to encourage digital payments have been lauded, with nearly 8 in 10 (78 percent) consumers agreeing that the government should continue to promote them to maintain safety and social distancing measures during the pandemic.

Usage continues to rise, with digital payments by means of eWallets and UPI being used at least once per day by 37 per cent of consumers, second only to cash (52 per cent).

“The pandemic has been a major catalyst for the adoption and growth of digital payments in India, but transaction growth has been accompanied by the emergence of payments-focused scams, with many first-time users targeted by fraudsters,” said ACI Worldwide’s Vice President and head of product management, Asia, Middle East, and Africa, Kaushik Roy.

He added that consumers are overwhelmingly welcoming of the steps taken by authorities towards digitization in payments and acknowledge the efforts made by banks concerning consumer awareness of payments fraud.

Roy, however, added that banks will need to continue to lead the way by not only deploying modern and robust enterprise-level fraud management but also by increasing consumer awareness.

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