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December 2014/January 2015, Vol. 38

Visa risk manager rescues small retailer from credit card fraud

Two years ago Kari Bernardo was a program manager in Visa's risk acceptance group when Speck Products came to her attention. The small San Mateo, Calif.-based online retailer was struggling with online credit card fraud, bouncing in and out of Visa's excessive chargeback programs. More alarming, the retailer, which makes stylish protective cases for electronic devices, had no systems in place to stop the fraud. That's when Bernardo decided to become Speck's e-commerce risk manager. "I took it as, there could be something I could fix for them," she said. Bernardo's first order of business was putting in security tools, but like Goldilocks, she found that getting just the right solution proved challenging. Some software tools were geared to mom-and-pop operations and insufficient to handle Speck's volume of business, she said. The company recorded net sales in 2013 of $104.8 million. Other tools were designed for large corporations. One contender was simply too new at the time to trust. "The main thing was cost," Bernardo said. ...

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