Payment fraud and threats to subscription-based businesses

Strategies and tools for success

More and more companies are delivering digital subscription services to drive customer engagement and top-line revenue. However, as services become available and increasingly popular, they also attract the attention of fraudsters seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in payment systems.

Payment fraud is a major threat to subscription businesses, potentially impacting revenue streams, customer trust, and operational efficiency. In fact, it’s only becoming more of a threat — “card not present” fraud will make up 74% of fraud within the next year, compared to 57% before the pandemic.

IT and payment managers are desperate for a better way to assess risk, reduce fraud, and protect revenue. And while there are lots of standalone and gateway-based fraud solutions out there, deciding which one to choose for your company can be a challenge.

Subscription businesses need clear, cohesive strategies and capable tools to protect against the risk of fraud. In this article, we delve into the world of payment fraud, explore its effects on subscription services, and outline the benefits of implementing a gateway-agnostic solution.

  • The business impact of payment fraud
  • Prevent fraud and protect your company
  • How Zuora Fraud Protection can help

The business impact of payment fraud

Research shows that electronic payment fraud is on the rise. Without robust fraud protection, brands risk damage to their reputation and their revenue.

Bad actors employ a variety of sophisticated fraud techniques, including stolen credit cards, identity theft, and chargebacks, to exploit vulnerabilities in payment processes. Unfortunately, subscription businesses — with recurring billing models and large customer databases — are lucrative targets for fraudsters to take advantage of loopholes in these systems.

Let’s take a look at some of the wide-ranging impacts of fraud on businesses.

  • Fraudulent transactions result in chargebacks and refunds, causing revenue leakage and reducing profitability. Moreover, businesses face additional costs associated with investigating and resolving fraudulent activities, as well as potential legal consequences. Research has found that e-commerce payment fraud cost merchants over $41 billion in 2022.
  • Fraud incidents can erode customer trust, increasing churn rates. When subscribers experience fraudulent charges, they lose faith in a service provider’s ability to protect their information. Consequently, customers may cancel subscriptions and seek alternative services, reducing revenue streams and hindering business growth.
  • News of security breaches and fraudulent activities spreads quickly through online news and social media, negatively impacting a company’s brand image. Potential customers become wary of subscribing to a service associated with security vulnerabilities, causing a loss of prospective clients and damaging the business’s long-term prospects.
  • Detecting and resolving payment fraud requires significant time and resources from customer support teams. Dealing with fraudulent transactions, resolving customer complaints, and providing refunds or credit adjustments strains support departments. This can result in delayed response times, reduced customer satisfaction, and increased operational costs, further affecting the overall business performance.

How to prevent fraud and protect your company

Despite the mounting menace of payment fraud, subscription services can shield themselves from many of these adverse effects with the right strategy and tools.

Here are three steps every subscription business should take to implement fraud prevention and mitigation measures:

  1. Regularly assess the vulnerability of payment systems to identify potential security gaps. Engage with reputable cybersecurity firms to conduct audits, penetration tests, and vulnerability scans. This proactive approach helps identify and address weaknesses before fraudsters exploit them.
  2. Deploy advanced fraud detection and prevention tools that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and anomalies in payment transactions. These tools can detect suspicious activities in real-time, flagging potentially fraudulent transactions for further investigation.
  3. Educate customers about best practices for online security, including the importance of strong passwords, avoiding suspicious links, and regularly monitoring their financial statements. By empowering customers with knowledge, businesses can collaborate to mitigate the risk of payment fraud.

How Zuora Fraud Protection can help

Zuora has partnered with Microsoft® to launch Zuora Fraud Protection — a gateway-agnostic fraud protection solution that reduces payment fraud and helps boost business revenue. This add-on solution to Zuora Payments uses adaptive AI, the Fraud Protection Network (FPN), and transaction acceptance booster to deliver merchant value.

How can Zuora Fraud Protection features benefit your business? 

  • Purchase Protection evaluates every transaction, cutting fraud losses by up to 15% and reducing time and costs associated with manual review processes.
  • Transaction Booster protects online revenue by decreasing wrongful rejections and increasing acceptance rates through direct partnerships with banks and payment networks to Improve authorizations rates by up to 1.4% due to effective screening.

Prevent payment fraud before it happens to your business

Payment fraud poses real danger to subscription-based businesses, impacting their financial stability, customer trust, and operational efficiency. By understanding the various impacts of payment fraud and implementing strong prevention measures, your company can safeguard revenue streams, protect your reputation, and provide a secure environment for customers.

Learn more about how Zuora can help you reduce fraud.

Subscription payment resources


Retain subscribers by taming electronic payments and revenue leakage
Managing electronic payments is key to growth and customer retention. With the right systems and processes, B2C companies can consolidate payment management, identify where they could be losing money, and address revenue leakage before it even starts.


Preventing payment fraud
Payment fraud is becoming increasingly common, causing major impacts on both businesses and customers. This guide will discuss everything you need to know about payment fraud, how it works, the various types, and the best practices to guard against fraudulent payment activities.


Electronic payment fraud is on the rise
The total volume of electronic payment failures due to fraud has continued to increase for businesses. See the recent data on payments and fraud.

Learn From the Best

Unlock resources from the leading experts

We coined the term “Subscription Economy®” and continue to be a leader in the industry. But don’t take it from us. Learn from our experts, customers, and partners.

New Business Models

Dynamically nurture customers through every journey.

Zuora Community

Speak with like-minded experts.

Developer Resources

The freedom to build with Zuora’s technologies.

Knowledge Center

Learn how to grow your business in the era of subscriptions.

Your journey starts here

As your customers change how they want to access your products and services, you have to evolve how you do business. Learn more about how our leading Subscription Economy® solutions have helped many of the world’s most innovative subscription businesses succeed.

Start your free trial

Get your hands on the product and test out Zuora for free

Want to Lead Change?

Join our global team in the relentless pursuit of transforming the world’s largest companies.

Payment fraud and threats to subscription-based businesses

Keep Learning

The Ultimate Guide to Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
What ASC 606 means for revenue recognition
Understanding material weakness in internal control for finance
SaaS pricing models: A comprehensive monetization guide