Holiday Trends to be Aware of: Account Takeover and Apple Pay

The holiday sales hype machine, which has been revving for some time, shifts into overdrive this week as the Thanksgiving weekend and the traditional Black Friday frenzy come into view. According to the National Retail Federation, 140 million U.S. consumers will go online or into stores sometime between Thursday and Sunday to take advantage of the expected discounts that kick off the shopping season. And, in preparing for the onslaught, our conversations keep turning to two things retailers should be keeping at the forefront of their minds: account takeover and Apple Pay.

Increasingly, email addresses, usernames and passwords are the currency of data breaches and fraudsters are more interested in accessing multiple merchant or bank accounts (which they can because people usually use the same passwords for many of their accounts), according to Ryan Wilk, director of customer success at antifraud technology provider NuData Security.

“Many merchants store credit card information within user accounts and many times they remove additional restrictions once you log in,” Wilk said. “So once you successfully log into an account you just have free reign.”

If a fraudster can access an account cleanly, how is a merchant supposed to defend against that? Wilk says one way is to require reentry of the CVV code during checkout. On a more basic level, being able to identify the legitimate account holder through behavioral characteristics becomes very important, especially around the holidays when volume really increases.

While account takeover may be taking people by surprise, Apple Pay has been anything but stealthy since its September introduction. A significant number of early adopters could be out and about this coming weekend and merchants can use the new payment method to speed up checkout lines, says Scott Holt, vice president of marketing in North America for Ingenico.

“This holiday season, and Black Friday in particular, merchants need to drive as much transactional revenue as possible and make it seamless for the consumer to checkout as quickly as possible,” Holt says.  “If merchants can accept Apple Pay, it could certainly speed up checkout times, and show how consumer-friendly they are. Accepting Apple Pay, along with other strategies like integrating mPOS into checkout lines, is one of the ways merchants can stay ahead and process as many orders as possible over a very busy shopping season.”