Financial Crime Report: The Dollar Takes Flight

The second quarter of 2021 in the U.S. looks strikingly different from the first quarter of 2021. Robust vaccine rollouts and strong stimulus payments have boosted the economy and helped forge a path out of the pandemic. As of publication, more than 50% of Americans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, 35.4% have been fully vaccinated, and stimulus payments equalling $384 billion have been issued thus far – something celebrated by common citizens and shiesty fraudsters alike.
We see extraordinary evidence of what that means in practical terms: a 21% increase in cross-state spending in March 2021 compared to January 2021 and a 410% increase in cross-border transactions out of total card volume from January 2021 to March 2021. The increase parallels vaccine rollouts. After more than a year of lockdowns, Americans, and their stimulus funds, are on the move!
But it’s not just the U.S. that saw significant changes this quarter. Good economic news is a global story: transaction volume for all tracked regions is now greater than pre-pandemic levels. And the APAC region, which has recovered faster and more consistently than other regions, continues to see strong transaction volume. Unfortunately, fraud and financial crime kept relative pace with consumer spending.
As vaccines become more widespread, we expect the behavioral changes taking place in the U.S. today – namely more travel and a consumer base that more closely resembles a prepandemic world – to be mirrored in other countries. But that also means the high levels of fraud will only continue to grow. Consumers aren’t the only ones betting on recovery. Fraudsters are too.
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