The fraud detection systems of RBS can be triggered when customers in the armed forces try to buy goods in army stores overseas.

The problem is caused by the way merchants on army bases process their payments, resulting in the RBS fraud prevention systems flagging the transactions as high risk. This results in their cards being blocked, even though no fraud is found.

Impact on personnel and their familes

Raymond Sutherland, a member of the RBS fraud operations team, has army connections within his family and was very aware of the impact these card blocks could have on army personnel and their families.

Personnel serving abroad are usually away on tour for months at a time, but are not allowed a personal mobile phone and only receive a 30 minute allowance each week to call family and friends, potentially to let them know that they are safe after a patrol.

The last thing they would want to use this precious allowance on was to call their bank to sort out problems with their bank cards so they and their families could continue to make vital purchases.

Working with colleagues, Sutherland gathered sufficient evidence for risk operations to identify the source of the problem. As a result of the findings RBS changed its systems to recognise these transactions, greatly reducing the risk of customers in the armed forces having to call the bank to unblock their card.

Sutherland said: “I am immensely proud of what we’ve achieved, for these special customers - we’ve improved our process for over 2,000 serving army personnel and their families. And thinking longer term, we have the mechanisms in place to deploy these same rules for any future bases that are set up around the world.”

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