December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

Visa shows there`s a silver lining on fraud

Visa U.S.A. plans to eliminate consumer liability for lost or stolen cards. The new rule revises a 1997 policy, which held consumers to a maximum liability of $50 if they reported lost or stolen cards in two business days. It expected issuers to begin complying with the change April 4. MasterCard International did not comment.

Visa also says its 1999 fraud loss dropped to 6 cents for every $100 in transactions, down from 7 cents in 1998. It credits neural networks to detect fraudulent cards, better fraud screens for Web merchants and cardholder verification codes.

Visa’s move will help boost consumer confidence and traffic for online shopping, experts say. But Edward Mierzwinski, consumer program director at the U.S. Public interest Research Group says enforceable rules are still needed. “It’s a step,” he says of the change. “But banks rarely charged the $50 anyway.”

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