PARIS -- Groupement des Cartes Bancaires, the French bank credit card association, announced a 45% decrease in fraud for 1992.

The group attributes the improvement mainly to the adoption of smart-card technology. Each of its 22 million cards has an embedded computer chip, and 75% of payments require a personal identification number.

Losses were the french franc equivalent of $36 million, down from $65 million in 1992. Meanwhile, payment volume was up 7.6%, to $89 billion.

The fraud rate as a percentage of volume was cut in half, to 0.04%, and was about one-fourth the 0.15% rate of both MasterCard International and Visa International.

Fraudulent use of lost or stolen cards was down by 29%, counterfeiting by 78%.

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