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ACI Worldwide Unveils Three-Step Approach to Fight Real-Time Payment Fraud in New Report

One in five global consumers fell victim to payments fraud in the last four years, with Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams emerging as the top fraud threat, according to ACI Worldwide‘s Prime Time for Real-Time 2023 report.

ACI Worldwide, a provider of real-time payments software, has partnered with GlobalData to shed light on the growing challenge of APP scams.

APP scams involve fraudsters coercing legitimate users to make payments to accounts controlled by scammers. With the rise of real-time payment systems, fraud detection requires advanced AI capabilities as well as rich data analysis enabled by ISO 20022.

The rapid settlement and reconciliation provided by push payments create a shorter window of opportunity to catch fraud, but innovative technologies allow for precise and swift detection and response.

Cleber Martins, head of payments intelligence and risk solutions at ACI Worldwide, emphasised the need for banks to shift their focus from traditional measures against check and card fraud.

“APP scams are on the rise as fraudsters exploit human vulnerabilities and weaknesses in bank controls to manipulate mule accounts to receive funds from fraudulent activities and facilitate further illicit transactions,” said Martins. “Banks need to safeguard their customers and revenue by shifting their focus from relying on traditional measures designed to prevent check or card fraud.

“They need to arm themselves with the right fraud strategies to capitalise on the security of the real-time payment rails and reap the benefits of real-time payments without fraud management becoming a cost-centre.”

The UK

In the UK, APP scams accounted for over one-third of the £1.2billion stolen through fraud in 2022. To combat this, the UK Payment Systems Regulators introduced new reimbursement requirements for APP scams within the Faster Payments system.

This initiative ensures that payment firms reimburse in-scope customers who fall victim to APP fraud, with costs shared between sending and receiving payment firms. The regulatory intervention provides a united front against APP scams and encourages collaboration among financial institutions to combat fraud.


Australia has also prioritised the fight against scams, with Australians losing over AU$3billion to scams in 2022. The Australian Banking Association recently announced the Fraud Reporting Exchange platform, enabling banks to halt multiple fraudulent transactions related to the same scam and share intelligence to prevent further losses.

The government’s strategic plan for the payments system includes establishing the National Anti-Scam Centre and developing industry anti-scam codes to enhance collaboration and information sharing across banks, telecommunications, and digital platforms.

The US

While some markets have addressed APP scams reactively, the impending launch of the FedNow® Service in the United States offers an opportunity to proactively tackle real-time payment fraud. The volume of real-time payments is expected to grow significantly, prompting the US banking and finance industry to modernise risk management technology and strengthen controls to implement robust fraud strategies.

Moving forward

ACI Worldwide’s report provides a three-step approach to combat real-time payment fraud.

  • First, contextualised decisioning and cross-industry collaboration can protect transactions across enterprises.
  • Second, machine learning accelerates decision-making, ensuring timely detection and response.
  • Finally, two-way communication strengthens the weakest link, allowing banks and financial institutions to send risk signals while maintaining a seamless customer experience.

This year, ACI unveiled a new, multi-channel media platform – Inside Real-Time – offering content exploring the latest developments and opportunities in the world of real-time payments. In a new four-part video series of season three focusing on fraud management, each episode “unmasks the many faces of fraud associated with real-time payments”.


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