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Understanding Fraud Prevention Success: Key Metrics and Challenges

In the final part of our fraud prevention blog series, we look at how you can determine whether your fraud prevention tools are doing the job and how to measure success.

 Xinying Teo
Xinying Teo  ·  Product Manager, Payment Risk, Adyen
20 July, 2023
 ·  4 minutes

Fraud prevention is a critical aspect of any business that handles online transactions. Businesses strive to protect themselves and their customers from fraudulent activities, but determining the effectiveness of fraud prevention tools and strategies can be challenging.

This article will explore what fraud prevention success looks like, the key metrics businesses should consider, and the challenges they face in measuring and improving their fraud prevention efforts.

Defining success

When evaluating fraud prevention, it is essential to consider the overall payment success as the ultimate matrix. While blocking all transactions to eliminate fraud completely may be tempting, this approach is not viable from a business perspective as it could lead to blocking a lot of legitimate transactions, or false positives, and lose valuable income. (You can learn more about having a nuanced approach to balance risk here).

To maximize value, merchants have to balance different trade-offs across the payment flow including fraudulent vs. legitimate revenue blocked by risk tools, offer conversion vs. friction in their authentication experience, and transaction success and costs in authorization flows. Ultimately, businesses are looking for the optimal point that maximizes the net revenue they achieve with their payments set-up - net of drop-offs, costs and chargebacks.

Key performance indicators (KPIs)

Businesses need to focus on specific KPIs to measure the success of their fraud prevention efforts. Chargeback rate and overall authorization rate impact are crucial metrics that directly reflect the effectiveness of fraud prevention measures.

Additionally, considering operational overhead costs, such as the resources dedicated to risk prevention, provides a more accurate assessment of fraud prevention strategies' overall effectiveness and efficiency.

The role of humans and tech

The advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning has revolutionized fraud prevention. While machine learning can automate the detection of common fraud trends, it is essential to acknowledge that fraudsters continuously evolve their tactics.

This is particularly true for sophisticated fraud schemes like phishing. Human judgment remains crucial in handling complex and nuanced fraud cases. Therefore, a combination of AI-driven tools and knowledgeable fraud teams is necessary to achieve the best outcomes.

Measuring fraud

Businesses face several challenges when measuring the success of their fraud prevention strategies. Limited access to data, insufficient tools, and the complexity of fraud tools can hinder accurate assessments.

Moreover, subjective factors, such as the interpretation of policy abuse and reputational risks, make it difficult to quantify success objectively. Businesses must balance preventing fraud, managing reputation, and maintaining customers' trust.

Transparency and collaboration

Businesses often grapple with how transparent they should be about fraud prevention measures. While sharing knowledge and experiences can benefit the community, excessive information can empower fraudsters.

Achieving a collaborative system that ensures the right people have access to expertise without compromising security is a delicate balance. Businesses should navigate this issue carefully, considering their brand image, customer perceptions, and the risks of divulging too much information. Read more about the importance of being proactive and collaborative in your fraud prevention efforts here.

Fraud management benchmarks


Benchmarking fraud prevention efforts against industry standards is crucial for merchants to gauge their performance. Organizations like the Merchant Risk Council (MRC) provide resources and reports that offer valuable industry benchmarks. The MRC's fraud report (page 16), in particular, provides insights into fraud trends and benchmarks, enabling merchants to compare their performance against industry norms.

Final thoughts

Fraud prevention success goes beyond simply reducing fraud rates. Businesses must focus on metrics such as chargeback rate, authorization rate impact, and operational overhead costs to assess the effectiveness of their strategies.

Combining AI-driven tools and human expertise is vital in combating evolving fraud tactics. Challenges such as limited data access and subjective factors complicate measuring success. Transparency and collaboration must be approached cautiously to strike the right balance between knowledge sharing and security.

By leveraging industry benchmarks and standards, businesses can gain valuable insights to enhance their fraud prevention efforts and protect their businesses and customers from fraud.

In case you missed our fraud series it, here are parts one and two:

Part one explores fraud detection, including the challenges and steps to solve.

Part two deep dives into fraud prevention and the importance of being proactive and collaborative.

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