A 40 percent increase in the amount of ATM and debit fraud detected could probably pay for the technology investment behind it pretty quickly, given that debit fraud in the U.S. is a $1 billion - and growing - problem, with few solutions.

That 40 percent figure comes from Actimize, which added an ATM- and debit-fraud detection product with the acquisition of payment card fraud technology from Basepoint, a small analytics vendor with a consortium of fraud data containing more than a billion transactions from a few thousand banks. Connecting the new fraud data and models with Actimize's enterprise fraud platform adds another dimension to fraud detection.

Analysts call the deal a good get for Actimize. "There's definitely a need for it, there's an absence of product in this area," says Avivah Litan, vp and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

At the same time Actimize announced the buy, Mastercard issued statements that it deployed the system, as have several other institutions not willing to go public, according to Amir Orad, evp and CMO at Actimize.

From a customer experience point of view, the product could dramatically improve things by offering banks the ability to block a single bad transaction - say, an ATM withdrawal being attempted in Russia - without requiring that the account be frozen and the card re-issued.

In the case of a mass-compromise like TJX, the ability to spot and block fraudulent transactions down to the ATM level means banks could save millions by not spending $20 to $30 re-issuing each card, some of which might not be compromised.

Fair Isaac, the old-guard leader in card fraud detection products at the processor level, says its clients have an appetite for better fraud detection as a means of getting more good transactions approved. "Issuers are starting to look at more of a risk-adjusted return philosophy," says Mike Urban, senior director of fraud solutions at Fair, Isaac. "Your fraud detection rate is probably as important as your approval rate because every time you deny a transaction you're giving up potentially good interchange."

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