Fortifying fleet cards
We South Africans are no stranger to the abominations of fraud and financial misconduct, which cripples the economy … But all is not lost. Standard Bank saved its fleet customers an estimated R15,3 million in potential losses during December last year, according to Dr David Molapo, head of fleet management at Standard Bank.
This was made possible by the bank’s online authorisation system, which scanned and declined questionable transactions at filling stations across South Africa.
“During the peak holiday period in December, people traditionally use the increased activity and crowded facilities on holiday routes to mask questionable forecourt transactions,” explains Molapo.
“Last December marked a significant change in this trend. Losses due to irregular and unlawful use for this month were among the lowest recorded by the Standard Bank Fleet system during 2012,” he notes.
However, in addition to the success of Standard Bank’s real time authorisation system in crime fighting during December, it also stifled potential losses throughout 2012.
The system enables each card to be validated and authorised at point of sale at all forecourts or workshop premises, and allows fleet operators to view all transactions online within 15 minutes after purchase.
“Where transactions appear to be out of the ordinary, fleet operators are phoned and alerted,” says Molapo. “They can then check the circumstances surrounding the transaction and either approve or decline it.”
Last year, transactions worth R257,6 million were blocked, often before fleet owners were even aware of the illegal attempts to use the accounts. Of this total, legitimate transactions valued at R36 million were given approval after contacting the clients. However, only 1,31 percent of the balance of the transactions were actual fraud such as cloned or stolen cards, with the majority being misuse of fleet cards.
These included, as Molapo points out, same day fill-ups within very short timeframes, transactions that exceeded tank capacities of vehicles and unlawful use of lost or discontinued cards. “Specifically for December, out of the total R15,3 million in declined transactions, only 2,76 percent were actual fraudulent cases – mainly due to cloned cards.” He adds that opportunities for using cloned cards are also progressively being shut down.
He explains that a transaction will automatically be rejected if the card user is attempting to process a purchase that isn’t aligned with the vehicle’s particulars recorded on the system. “For example, if a driver is attempts to make tyre purchases with a card that is valid only for fuel, oils, and tolls.”
This increase in technical vigilance also makes fleet operators more aware of the challenges they face, enabling them to introduce additional control measures within their companies. “Drivers are thus more conscious of how they use the cards, reducing improper use and fraud levels,” notes Molapo.