The amount of money lost as a result of fraud on credit and debit cards in the UK rose by 18% last year - the largest annual jump for the crime in Europe.
In total £492 million was lost in 2015, and research shows it was fuelled by online shopping and data breaches.
The rise was the sharpest recorded in 19 European countries studied by software analytics Fico with the UK contributing 43% of the total card fraud losses across Europe, latest figures revealed.
Overall, 10 countries studied saw increases in card fraud in 2015, with Greece, Denmark, France and Russia posting the highest rises after the UK.
The latest findings have prompted software experts to warn that card fraud is now a major, and growing, challenge for the financial services industry as more consumers conduct transactions or shop online where their personal data can be stolen.
Martin Warwick, Fico’s fraud chief in Europe, said: “The digital revolution has created an online funds kitty that is just too tempting for criminals.”
And while E-commerce spending in the UK has nearly quadrupled since 2007 he said banks continue to avoid “intervening unnecessarily” when customers are shopping on the internet.
Kendrick Sands, senior analyst at Euromonitor, warned: “The further projected increase in online payments suggests additional security measures will be required.
“If greater security measures are not adopted to combat card not present fraud, the broader advance of card payments over paper alternatives could be negatively impacted.”
Contactless cards are currently limited to a £30 transaction limit in the UK without the user needing to enter a PIN number.
Currently, businesses are advised to adhere to the “best practices” laid out by the UK Cards Assocation watchdog.
This states the card should remain in the customer’s hands, rather than a cashier or bar attendant taking the card away and tapping it themselves.
Andrew Goodwill of the Goodwill group, which is leading the fight against contactless fraud, said: “Change is needed here, but it must first come from consumers...They should live by the rule that they take as much care of their card as you would with their wallet.”