How fraud nearly stopped me from going home

Chiara Quaia

Head of Partnerships, Travel Payments, Amadeus IT Group

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Have you ever needed to buy a flight at the last minute? Not long ago, I did. I had just found out I would be starting a new job in a new country and I wanted to spend as much time at home as I could, so I needed to fly back the following day. Using an online travel agency, I found a flight, entered my details, clicked confirm and…nothing. Rejected. I was redirected to an error page with a message saying that I couldn’t book the flight. I tried again…same failure. In the end I found another online agency and finally managed to book a flight. I later found out that the first travel agent had a fraud policy that was rejecting good transactions as well as bad ones.

Payment Fraud Partnership with Accertify

Online fraud is big-money for criminals and causes losses for travel companies. A recent study in the UK found that online travel agencies lose on average 900 GBP each time they process a fraudulent credit card transaction. Typically travel companies can lose between 1% and 2% of their revenues to fraud according to Amadeus estimates.

This is why some travel companies, in an attempt to keep fraud to a minimum, apply anti-fraud policies which reject many good transactions. Some good transactions can look like fraudulent ones to an unsophisticated fraud-management system. For example, many fraudsters book trips outside of office hours and very close to the date of departure, so some companies put a block on such transactions. This is why my booking looked fraudulent, but it actually wasn’t. In this way, according to Amadeus estimates, travel companies can reject up to five good transactions for every fraudulent transaction detected.

Amadeus has partnered with Accertify, a leading provider of fraud management solutions, to help airlines and travel agencies address this challenge. With the agreement, Accertify is now integrated into Amadeus Fraud Management, a solution which enables travel merchants to send travel transactions to be screened for payment fraud before going any further with the booking. As a result of the integration, Amadeus Fraud Management helps travel merchants to reduce fraud, reduce the cost of handling chargebacks, and increase sales by entering new markets or rejecting fewer good transactions.

Combining Amadeus’ technical know-how and Accertify’s fraud detection engine helps detect fraud more accurately as well as reducing the operational effort required to manage fraud. For example, we include data about the trip as well as payment data in the message we send to Accertify. This allows Accertify’s fraud engine to more accurately weed out bad transactions without losing the good ones.

Fraud is both a global and a “local” phenomenon as each market has different types of fraud scams; any global fraud management system must take into account all of these local challenges. This is exactly Accertify’s expertise. Accertify Fraud Management allows travel companies to reduce the number of fraudulent bookings that make it through their systems while rejecting fewer genuine transactions.

Some airlines have found that it is possible to cut the amount of revenue lost to fraud by 39% when using an expert fraud-management provider. At the same time, travel companies can reduce the manual work involved in reviewing potentially fraudulent transactions, with some reporting manual review rate reductions by up to 50%.

Another benefit of the joint Amadeus-Accertify solution is that the fraud-screening process can be triggered before the booking is finalized, so any fraudulent transactions are stopped immediately. The ticket is not issued and the payment can be stopped before any money has changed hands. This reduces the amount of time that travel companies have to dedicate to refunding and voiding fraudulent bookings.

With Accertify’s and Amadeus’ joint fraud management solution, travel companies have the opportunity to expand into new markets without suffering additional fraud losses … and I can book my next last minute flight stress-free!