Industry Hot Card File (IHCF)
The IHCF contains information on more than 7.2 million UK cards which have been reported lost, stolen or compromised. During 2012, nearly 495,700 cases (463,000 in 2011) of attempted fraud were prevented by this system as a result of flagging likely fraud to retailers prior to the conclusion of a transaction. More than 60,000 UK retailers subscribe to this electronic file. When a participating retailer accepts a card payment as part of a normal transaction, it is automatically checked against the file, and the retailer is alerted if the card’s details match any of those on the system.
The IHCF is now also used by over 850 merchants operating in the Card-not-Present (CNP) environment (for example, those businesses which handle telephone orders or trade online). Many CNP retailers have a time delay between taking an order and its despatch – they therefore make use of the IHCF as a mechanism to provide continued checks on the validity of the card used for payment during this period allowing retailers the opportunity, before goods are dispatched, to verify the order with the purported cardholder and to terminate delivery. The IHCF is also used successfully at French motorway tollbooths to combat the use of stolen UK cards.