While credit card fraud has been decreasing steadily in the United States, it has been rising in the United Kingdom, and bank card executives there say blame the relatively low percentage of phone-authorized transactions.

Preliminary figures for 2000 indicate that 0.15% of the total value of purchases made by credit card in the United Kingdom were fraudulent - or 15 cents out of every $100 of transactions, according to the Association for Payment Clearing Services, a London-based group for U.K. banks. The figure is up from 0.11% in 1999 and more than double the fraud rate that Visa U.S.A. reported for 1999 in the United States, 0.06%. The U.S. numbers for 2000 are not yet available. Visa said the problem in the United Kingdom, where credit cards are more prevalent than in any other European country, has skewed the entire European Union region's fraud results. Credit card fraud rose by 50% in the European Union last year, to 0.07% of the total value of transactions, or about $547 million, Visa said. More than half of the region's credit card transactions take place in the United Kingdom.

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